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How long do you keep records
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How long do you keep records

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Every entrepreneur is legally obliged to keep his administration for 7 years (fiscal retention obligation). However, we strive to minimize administrative burdens and sometimes use shorter retention periods. How long you have to keep your administration depends on the importance we have with the different types of data in your administration. Certain parts of your administration are regarded as basic data.

Basic data storage for 7 years


The Tax and Customs Administration distinguishes various data within your administration. The fiscal retention obligation of 7 years applies to the so-called basic data. These are the most interesting for the tax authorities.

The basic data includes the general ledger, the debtor and creditor administration, the stock administration, the purchasing and sales administration and the payroll administration. After 7 years, the tax authorities will no longer request this information from you.

Keeping data for immovable property for 10 years


There are also data that you must keep for 10 years. These are the details of real estate, such as your business premises.

Making agreements about keeping documents


You can make agreements with the Tax and Customs Administration about the form in which you keep the data and about the level of detail (such as timesheets or counters of the cash register). Most you can archive digitally.

Agreements about shorter retention periods


For all data that are not regarded as basic data, you can make agreements with the tax authorities about possible shorter retention periods. Be careful that if you make agreements with the Tax and Customs Administration about shorter retention periods, there may also be other government institutions that do adhere to the statutory retention period of 7 years.

Keeping your records is your own responsibility


The obligation to keep your records also applies to computer programs and files. You are therefore obliged to make regular updates and backups of the computer on which you keep your administration. In principle, all data that you record on paper or electronically belongs to the administration of your company. Think of cash administration, receipts, invoices and bank statements.

Please note: a crashed laptop or stolen hard drive is no excuse for the Tax Authorities not to comply with the retention obligation.


Scan all your documents

Scan invoices, receipts, contracts and other important papers as much as possible. Paper is fragile; many receipts are even printed on paper that becomes illegible under the influence of sunlight within a few months. For example, use an accounting tool like Basecone to scan all your receipts directly on your smartphone.

What is part of your ‘Administration’ ?


All information about your company that you record on paper or in digital form is part of your administration. Examples of this are:

  • cash administration (also draft notes) and receipts

  • financial notes, such as the purchase and sales book

  • interim calculations made

  • invoices received and copies of invoices sent

  • Bank statements

  • contracts, agreements and other arrangements

  • agendas and appointment books

  • Correspondence

  • software and data files

A lot of data is first digitally recorded. This not only concerns the files of the financial administration, but also, for example, the business agenda that you keep with your mobile phone. Or the sales data that you register with a cash register system and the administration and parts of the business process (such as sales via a web store) that go via the internet.

You can organize and maintain your administration in a way that suits your company. You must take into account that your administration is the basis for your returns. If your records are not complete and cannot be checked within a reasonable period of time or if you do not keep your records long enough, this can have unpleasant consequences. We can then determine your turnover and profit and calculate the tax.


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