Documents retention

Authors: Barbora Halousková, Andrea Kleinová
Many taxpayers deal with the issue of archiving documents from time to time, especially when they no longer have much room for more and more files. The most pressing problem is usually the length of the legal period for which particular document must be kept. We have prepared the answer to this and other questions relating to archiving for you in our today´s article.

In the case of archiving unnecessary documents for a period longer than necessary by law, we increase the cost of premises, document management, cleaning, etc. Otherwise, if the legal deadline for archiving is not met, the tax office could impose a fine and the taxpayer would be exposed to the risk that they will not bear the burden of proof in the context of a possible tax audit or other similar procedure.

Below, we have prepared a table with an overview of individual documents and deadlines for their storage according to applicable laws for you.

 Type of document
 Retention period (in years)
 Accounting documents  
 Financial Statements  10
 Annual Reports  10
 Accounting documents (invoices, cash documents, bank statements etc.)  5
 Accounting ledgers (Journal, General Ledger, Books of analytical records, Books of off-balance sheet accounts)  5
 Depreciation plans (for fixed assets)  5
 Inventory lists  5
 Chart of accounts  5
 Reports - asset register with an overview of tax and accounting depreciation, analysis of sales and purchases or profitability of centers  5
 Accounting records by which entities document the form of bookkeeping - printed or electronic documents  5
Tax documents  
 Tax documents for VAT, CITR purposes  10**
Payroll documents   
 Duplicates of pension records ("Evidenční list důchodového pojištění")  3
 Payslips or accounting records*
 Payslips or accounting records* for recipients of old-age or invalidity pensions  10
 *of data needed for pension insurance purposes
 **general deadline for tax assessment is 3 years from the end of the tax period

Tax assessment period (applicable to all types of taxes)

The basic period for the safekeeping of tax documents (i.e. documents needed to prove the correctness of the content of tax claims, such as tax returns or statements) is based on the period for assessment of tax, which is 3 years. However, this period may be extended to a maximum of 10 years. See below for details on how this period may be extended.

  • The basic period is extended by 1 year if an additional tax return was submitted in its last year or a call for an additional tax return was announced by the tax administrator if this call led to an additional assessment of the tax.
  • The basic period is extended by 5 years if the tax subject has declared a tax loss and has not given up the possibility of utilizing it in the future.
  • If a tax audit has been initiated, a (delayed) proper tax return was submitted or a call for its submission has been announced before the expiry of the basic three-year tax assessment period, the tax assessment period runs again from the date on which the act was performed (i.e. a maximum of 2 + 3 + 5 years).

Furthermore, if the taxpayer has a registered office or establishment in the Czech Republic, he is obliged to notify the tax administrator in advance of the place of storage of tax documents if this place is not in here.

Forms of archiving

Another point that tax subjects address in the issue of archiving, is the form in which they will archive the documents. The law allows the retention of documents in printed, electronic and combined form.

There is a certain "fun" phenomenon associated with the printed form of storage, which we must not forget, and that is, that certain types of receipts begin to fade very soon. If the receipts were the basis for verification, they would fail as evidence. Therefore, we recommend scanning these receipts and keep such scanned copies with the original.

With the development of technology, it is quite obvious that the form of electronic archiving is increasingly used. However, even this form brings with it certain rules. The tax subject must guarantee the following:

  • credibility of the origin of the document,
  • inviolability of the content of the document,
  • readability of the document, and
  • the security of the process of converting or changing the data format.

Valid documents are those that are signed with an electronic signature and secured with a qualified time stamp. The validity of such a stamp is limited to 5 years, thus before the expiration of the period, the document needs to be so-called re-stamped.

Saving documents of permanent value

Business corporations must also pay increased attention to the documents listed in Annex 1 to the Act on Archiving and Records Management. These are for example founding documents, financial statements, annual reports, etc., which must be first assessed by the state archives, and only after their consent can be destroyed.

If, despite the above, you are questioning whether you can destroy the document, or you are interested in managing the archive, do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact our expert

Andrea Kleinová
Andrea Kleinová
Certified Tax Advisor

Tax Advisory