What Documents Should a Company Keep and For How Long?

The question ‘what documents should a company keep?’ is asked a lot by company directors, accountants, bookkeepers and general office staff, and the Companies Act 2006 details how long documents should be kept for. We’ve pulled together some of the more common document a business should keep (together with the length of time these should be kept according to the legislation) into this table below which we hope is useful for you and your company.

Type of Document Length of Retention Period
Purchase invoices 6 years
Sales invoices 6 years
Petty cash records 6 years
Tax records for current and ex-employees 6 years, plus the current year
Tax code changes 6 years, plus the current year
Payroll and payroll control account 6 years, plus the current year
Records relating to working time 2 years from the date on which they are made
Application forms and interview notes


6 months – 1 year (although these may be held in the HR file which could be kept on record for much longer)
Statutory maternity and sick pay records 3 years after the end of the tax year in which the maternity period ends
National Minimum Wage records 3 years after the end of the pay reference period following the year which the records cover
Insurance documents 3 years after lapse
Minutes of directors’ and shareholders’ meetings and resolutions passed other than at a general meeting Minimum 10 years following the date of the meeting/resolution/decision
Directors’ service contracts Minimum of 1 year from termination of the contract
Fixed asset register For the entire life of the company
Annual accounts For the entire life of the company
Contracts with customers, suppliers or agents 6 years after expiry or termination of the contract (if the contract is executed as a deed, the limitation period is 12 years)



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