A Guide To Document Retention Periods

A Guide To Document Retention Periods

A question we are asked on a regular basis is “How long should I keep my documents?” It’s a very good question and the answer isn’t particularly straightforward because it all depends on what the document contains.

We’ve put together this guide to document retention periods to help customers understand how long to keep their documents. Please note the information below is for guideline purposes only so if you aren’t sure it’s better to keep the documents. 


Document Retention Periods – A Guide


 Type Of Document  Statutory Minimum Retention Period  Recommended Period Of Retention    
Incorporation Documents        
Certificate of Incorporation and Certificates on Change of Name N/A Permanently    
Certificate to commence business (Public Company) N/A Permanently    
Memorandum and Articles of Association (original and updated copies) Permanently Permanently    
Printed copies of resolutions submitted to Companies House Permanently Permanently    
Statutory Returns, Records and Registers        
Annual Return (copy) N/A Permanently    
Return of Allotments (copy) N/A Permanently    
Directors’ Service Contracts 6 years after cessation 6 years after cessation    
Register of Directors and Secretaries (original) Permanently Permanently    
Register of Directors’ interests in Shares and Debentures Permanently Permanently    
Register of interests in voting shares Permanently Permanently    
Register of Charges Permanently Permanently    
Register of Documents sealed (if applicable) N/A Permanently    
Unpaid dividend records N/A 12 years after dividend declared    
Dividend and interest mandate forms
ceased to be valid
N/A 3 years from when the instruction    
Notification of address change by member N/A 2 years after notification    
Share Registration Documents        
Register of Members Permanently Permanently    
Register of Debentures and Loan Stock holders N/A Permanently / 7 years after
redemption of stock
Letters and forms applying for Shares, Debentures etc. N/A 12 years from issue, with a
permanent microfilmed record
Renounceable Letter of Allotment and Acceptances N/A Originals for 12 years from renunciation, with a permanent
microfilmed record
Renounced Share Certificates N/A Originals for 12 years from renunciation, with a permanent
microfilmed record
Contracts for purchase of own shares by Company N/A perioD of retention

10 years from date of contract

Share & Stock Transfer forms
and Letter of Request with permanent microfilmed record
N/A 12 years after date of transfer,
Requests for designating or redesign ting accounts
with permanent microfilmed record
N/A 12 years after request,
Cancelled share/stock Certificate N/A 1 year from date of cancellation
Stop Notice and other Court Orders N/A Permanently
Letters of indemnity for lost Certificates N/A Permanently
Powers of Attorney N/A Permanently
Dividend and interest payment lists N/A Until audit of the dividend
payment is complete
Paid dividend and interest warrants N/A 6 years after date of payment
Bank Records    
Cheques, bills of exchange and other negotiable instruments N/A 6 years
Paying-in counterfoils N/A 6 years
Statements from and instructions to the bank N/A 6 years after ceasing to be
Public Company 6 years 10 years    
Limited Company 3 years 10 years    
Annual report and accounts (signed) N/A Permanently    
Annual report and accounts (unsigned) N/A Permanently (keep sufficient
copies to meet requests)
Interim report and accounts N/A Permanently (keep sufficient
copies to meet requests)
Budgets, forecasts and periodic i internal financial reports N/A 5 years    
Taxation records and tax returns Inspection possible up to
6 years after tax/accounting period
VAT records and Customs & Excise returns Inspection may be conducted up to 6
years after tax/accounting period
Expense accounts N/A 7 years    
Charity Donation Documents        
Deeds of Covenant 6 years after last payment 12 years after last payment    
Documents supporting entries in accounts for donations 3 or 6 years 6 years    
Contracts executed under seal N/A 12 years after expiry    
Contracts with customers, suppliers, agents or others N/A 6 years after expiry or contract
Rental and hire purchase agreements N/A 6 years after expiry    
Licensing agreements N/A 6 years after expiry    
Trust deeds and rules (pension schemes) N/A Permanently    
Public liability policies N/A Permanently    
Product liability policies N/A Permanently    
Employers’ liability policies 40 years Permanently    
Sundry insurance policies and insurance schedules N/A Until claims under policy are barred or 3 years after policy
lapses, whichever is longer
Group health policies N/A 12 years after final cessation of
Group personal accident policies
Claims correspondence N/A 3 years after settlement
N/A 12 years after final cessation of
Health & Safety        
Record of consultations with safety representative and committees N/A Permanently    
Health & Safety policy documents (old and revised copies) Implied permanently by Health & Safety at Work Act (1974 S2(3) Permanently    
Assessment of risks under health and safety regulations (including routine assessment monitoring and maintenance records for aspects in workplace such as air quality, levels of pollution, noise level, use of hazardous substances etc.) Until revised (Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992 S1 1992/2051) Permanently (old and current copies)    
Accident report book and relevant records/ correspondence 3 years from date of entry (Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 S7) Permanently    
Medical records – general N/A 12 years    
Employees Records        
Job applications and interview records N/A Up to 1 year    
Personnel records N/A 7 years after employment ceases, with permanent
microfilmed record
Senior executive records N/A Permanently    
Training records N/A 6 years after employment ceases    
Employment agreements N/A Permanently    
Payroll and wage records
(including details of overtime, bonuses and expenses)
6 years 12 years    
Salary records N/A 5 years    
Time cards and piecework records N/A 2 years    
Details of benefits in kind 6 years 12 years    
Income tax records (P45/P60/P58/P48 etc.) 6 years 12 years    
Annual return of taxable pay and tax paid 6 years 12 years    
Labour agreements N/A 10 years after ceasing to be
Works council minutes N/A Permanently    
Employee records fro closed units Some 6 years 12 years    
Material With Copyright Protection        
Literary, dramatic and musical works N/A Life plus 50 years    
Artistic works, recordings, films, photos and broadcasts. N/A 50 years    
Pension Scheme Documents(unapproved schemes)        
Trust deeds and scheme rules N/A Permanently    
Trustees’ minute books N/A Permanently    
Record of pensioners N/A 12 years after cessation of benefit    
Money purchase details N/A 6 years after transfer or value taken    
Pension scheme investment policies N/A 12 years after transfer or value taken    
Pension Scheme Documents(inland revenue approved and statutory pension schemes)        
Pension fund accounts and supporting documents 6 years from date of accounts signed Permanently    
Actuarial valuation reports 6 years from date of report signed Permanently    
Inland revenue approvals N/A Permanently    
Medical records – Radiation accident assessment 50 years Permanently    
Medical records – Radiation dosage summary 2 years from end of
calendar year
Under control of Lead at Work Regulations 1998
(replaced 1980 regulations)
2 years from date of
last entry to be effective
Under Control of Asbestos a Work Regulations 1987 40 years Permanently    
Under Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
regulations 1994 9COSHH Regulations)
40 years Permanently    
Intellectual Property Records        
Certificates of registration of trade/service marks (current and lapsed) N/A Permanently or 6 years
after cessation of registration
Documents evidencing assignment of trade/service marks N/A 6 years after cessation of
Intellectual property agreements and licences N/A 6 years after expiry    
Property Documents        
Title deeds for property N/A Permanently or until sold or transferred    
Leases N/A 12 years after lease and liabilities
under the lease have terminated
Medical Records        
Type Of Record   Minimum Retention Period    
Admission/Discharge Books    8 Years    
Audiology, Dietetic and Nutrition, District Nursing, Occupational Therapy,   20 Years    
Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Speech and Language Therapy    20 Years    
Child Protection Registers    26 Years    
Clinical Audit Records    5 Years    
Dental Records    11 years, Adults Children up to their 25th Birthday    
Diaries    3 Years    
Family Planning Records    10 years, Children retain to their 25th Birthday    
Health Visitor Records    10 Years or for Children retain to their 25th Birthday    
Health Records    8 Years    
Immunisation and Vaccination    Children – retain until their 25th Birthday    
All others    10 years    
Learning Difficulties    10 years after the death of the individual    
Oncology    30 Years    
Operating Theatre Registers    8 Years    
Out of Hours Records    3 Years    
Outpatients List    2 Years    
Parent-Held Records    Until the Patients 25th Birthday    
Ward Registers    2 Years    
X-Rays    8 Years    
X-Ray Registers    30 Years    
Board Meeting Reports    30 Years    
Business Plans    20 Years    
Catering forms    6 Years    
Commissioning Decisions    6 Years from date of appeal decision    
Complaints Correspondence    10 Years    
Health & Safety Documents    3 Years    
Incident Forms    8 Years    
Manuals    10 Years    
Meetings & Minutes    30 Years    
Minor Paperwork (reminders , advertising etc)    2 Years    
Quality Assurance Records    12 Years    
Reports    30 Years    
Incident Files    30 Years    
Time Sheets    3 Years    
Annual Accounts    30 Years    
Accounts – Minor Records (cash books etc)    2 Years    
Financial Contracts    15 Years    
Medical Payments, Bacs Payments, Fraud Investigations, Invoices    6 Years    
Personnel Records    6 Years    


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