Focus on the retention period of documents for individuals and companies

4 February 2016

The practical rules to keep the documents are set by the law or according to the practical prescription periods or the periods during which the administrations can make inspections.

Documents to keep for individuals 

The storage time of documents continues to apply after the death of the person because certain documents can prove debts transmitted to the beneficiary of the inheritance.

The payment of certain welfare benefits after the death of a person can be subjected to a recovery action from the beneficiaries (of the inherence) during 5 years from the death.

Company’s obligation to keep some documents

Civil and commercial documents

  • Agreement concluded in the framework of business relation: 5 years
  • Purchase agreement or sale of real estate assets: 30 years
  • Bank document: 5 years
  • Customs statement: 3 years
  • Insurance policy: 2 years from the agreement termination
  • Document related to the intellectual property (patent, brand, etc.):5 years from the end of the protection
  • Attorney file: 5 years from the end of the mandate

Accounting documents

  • Accounts book and ledger: 10 years from the closing of the fiscal year
  • Supporting documents: order form, delivery form, invoice (client and supplier): 10 years from the closing of the fiscal year

Tax documents:

  • The tax documents have to be kept during 6 months from the date of the last operation mentioned on the accounts book or of the date in which the documents have been drawn up

Be careful: the period of storage is 10 years in case of occult activity

Legal documents

  • Articles of incorporation: 5 years from the loss of the legal personality
  • Annual accounts (balance sheet, profit and loss accounts, appendix…): 10 years from the closing of the fiscal year
  • Merger treaty and other acts related the company’s life: 5 years
  • Register of securities, transfer certificate, register of the minutes of the general meeting and board of directors: 5 years from the meeting
  • Attendance sheet and proxies: manager or board of director’s report, auditors report: 3 last fiscal years

Employment documents

  • Wage slips: 5 years
  • Single staff registers: 5 years from the departure of the employee
  • Documents concerning the contracts of employment, wage, premium, compensation, pension plan, etc…: 5 years
  • Document related to welfare costs: 3 years
  • Counting of employees working days under flat-rate pay agreement: 3 years
  • Counting of employee hours: 1 year
  • Notifications of the health and safety inspection: 5 years
  • Work accident notification: 5 years

Cabinet Roche & Cie, Charterred accountant in Lyon
Specialist of French Real Estate taxation and non-residents

The Team Roche & Cie

Professionals or individuals, French or international, since 1948, Roche & Cie has been assisting clients from all horizons. 
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