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Legal retention periods

For how many years do you have to keep invoices, account statements, personnel register and more? In the tables below you will find the legal retention period for your accounting, tax and social, company law and legal archives.

Personal documents

 

Type of document Retention period Start of the retention period
Warranty certificates 2 years From the date of purchase of the product, appliance…
Horeca invoices 6 months From date of stay, restaurant…
Leases 5 years From signature
Pay slips 10 years (although it is advisable to keep them until retirement) From the time the pay slip is issued
Insurance documents 10 years From contract signature
Personal and family documents, including but not limited to: diploma, birth certificate, adoption document, marriage contract, divorce decree, donation… For life

Accounting documents

 

Type of document Retention period Start of the retention period
Original accounting books: non-split diary, central book and inventory book 10 years From 1 January of the year following closing
Supporting documents (original or copy): documents that serve as the basis for all accounting processes. They can serve as proof to third parties. 10 years From 1 January of the year following closing
Documents which are not used as proof for third parties: these are documents which do not show the existence of direct relations with third parties 10 years From 1 January of the year following closing

Tax documents

 

Type of document Retention period Start of retention period
For tax income: all books and documents that are necessary for determining the taxable income.
E.g. documents justifying the bills, documents relating to cadastral income, documents prepared for professional purposes such as wage documents, social security, contracts, vouchers of order and delivery, receipt books, supporting documents of any kind, any other document that can used to determine taxable income.These documents must be kept in the original format.
10 years From the taxable period (tax year) to which the documents refer
For VAT: books, invoices (incoming and outgoing) and other documents required by VAT (supporting documents, investment table).

Documents must be kept in their original format. So if these are electronic invoices, the technology used must guarantee the authenticity of the origin and the integrity of the content of the invoices.

10 years From 1 January of the year following closing
Automated systems: information media and programs for viewing the documents above 10 years From 1 January following the date the documents were drafted or issued
Original invoices or documents relating to intra-Community acquisitions of goods or purchases abroad. 10 years From 1 January following the date the documents were drafted or issued
Original extracts from accounts of financial institutions, tax statements and receipts, quotations, inventory, detailed invoices and delivery notes to which the invoice refers. 10 years From 1 January following the date the documents were drafted or issued

Social contribution and insurance documents

 

Type of document Retention period Start of retention period
Staff register and dedicated personnel registers 5 year From the day of the start of the first registered employee
Student contracts, professional contracts, contracts for working from home. 5 year From the employee’s starting date
Copy of the accounting framework for each quarterly declaration to the RSZ. 5 year From the deadline for sending the declaration
ONSS documents: DIMONA notification from the ONSS, documents for work assistance. 5 year From the receipt of the DIMONA announcement
Individual account + appendices (individual identification sheets, payslips, …) 5 year From the day the financial statements are closed
Medical file (in original format). 15 year From the employee’s starting date
Documents related to early retirement: statements of deductions due in case of early retirement, statement of contributions due by the employer + supporting documents. 3 year From sending the statement to the ONP
Working hours and deviations from the normal working hours of part-time workers. 5 year From the day the person starts working part-time in the company
Work regulations As long as employees are employed
Data sheets on accidents at work 10 year or more From the date of the accident and 10 years after the employee’s departure

 

Company law documents

 

Type of document Retention time Start of retention time
Company archives, notes of ordinary or extraordinary general meetings, reports of managers or statutory auditors, attendance lists during meetings, etc. 5 year During the lifetime of the company and 5 years after the closing date of the liquidation
Share registers, bonds, profit shares, … 5 year During the lifetime of the company and 5 years after the closing date of the liquidation

Legal documents

 

Type of document Retention time Start retention time
Documents related to legal actions: movable and real estate actions.. 30 year As long as the promotion is not prescribed and 30 years later
Documents related to personal promotions. 30 year As long as the promotion is not prescribed and 30 years later

Real Estate/Syndic documents

 

Type of document Retention time Start retention time
Supporting document(s) for the accounts 10 years From the end of the billing period

Lawyer files

 

Type of document Retention time Start retention time
Exhibit(s) and file in general 5 years From the end of the mission

Expert files

 

Type of document Retention time Start retention time
Exhibit(s) and Reports 10 years From the end of their mission

Architect and contractor records

 

Type of document Retention time Start retention time
Agreements related to construction projects and related documents 10 years From the acceptance of the mission

 

Medical material

Type of document Retention time Start retention time
Paraffin blocks 10 years from the date of collection
Histological sections and stained cytology slides 20 years from the date of collection

 

 

Archives Conseil has ensured the accuracy of the information given above but declines all responsibility in the event of errors or changes in the legislation.

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