Did you know that you can use the Records Management feature in Info-Organiser to set document storage and destruction dates?
Info-Organiser DMS is VERS certified to meet the stringent standard requirements of the Public Records Office of Victoria, recognised as Australia’s leading body for records management. Click here to see our VERS accreditation profile.
Just as you would securely destroy paper documents, you can also set time frames to review and purge your electronic files. Most general business docs have a retention period of seven years, with some notable exceptions listed in the table below.
|Retention of General Business Documents:|
|Accounting, Audit, Company, Human Resource, Payroll, Tax, Information Systems, Legal and Compliance||5-7 years after the transactions covered by the information are completed|
|Notable exceptions are:|
|Air Monitoring Safety Logs||30 years|
|Hazardous chemicals: health monitoring||30 years|
|Hazardous chemicals – asbestos: health monitoring||40 years|
|Contracts/Agreements relating to property, leases, licences, easements, purchase and sale||15 years after disposal of property (Note: governed by varying State and Territory recommendations)|
|Copyright, Advertising Artwork||70 years after end of year of author’s/artist’s death|
|Governmental Compliance & Reporting, Legal Administration||15 years|
|Documents with Indefinite timeframes for secure retention are:|
|Policies Programs & Procurement – Environmental||Indefinite|
|Records Destruction Certification||Indefinite|
|Minutes of Board & Shareholder Meetings||or 7 years in addition to the life of the organisation|
|Business Organisation & Incorporation||or 7 years in addition to the life of the organisation|
|Registers – shareholders, option holders and debenture holders||or 5 years in addition to the life of the organisation|
|Employee Medical Records||refer to Australian Privacy Principle 11.2 of Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988|
|Insurance||Indefinite. Seek specific advice from your insurance company|
Australian document storage and retention is covered by various Australian and State Acts, eg:
- Corporations Act 2001
The Corporations Act states that E-copy is sufficient although they must be kept in a form readily convertible to hard copy – section 288(1) Corporations Act 2001
- Income Tax Assessment Act 1936
The ATO rules that E-copy is sufficient provided it is kept in a form that is readily convertible to writing in the English Language. Documents stored in electronic form must be in a form that the Australian Taxation Office can access and understand in order to ascertain the entity’s taxation liability. Where paper records are images and stored electronically, the requirements of section 272A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 are satisfied if the images are:
- not altered or manipulated once stored;
- retained for the statutory period of 5 years; and
- capable of being retrieved and read at all times by ATO staff
Refer to ATO Taxation Ruling TR 2005/09 for further details.
- Other relevant Federal and State Acts, eg: Fair Work Act 2009, Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
Different retention periods exist in each State and Territory of Australia. The recommended retention period reflects the maximum period prevailing in any State or Territory.
Please note that this is a sample list of documents and that legal information retention requirements may be subject to change. We recommend that you verify any information relating to your particular document storage circumstances by consulting your accountant and/or lawyer.