Paperwork: How long do you REALLY need to keep Tax documents?

Posted on February 28, 2012 by lessismo | 0 Comments

You’d be surprised. The tax department gets so much of your information directly from your employers/bank now that it doesn’t need much.

Take 5 minutes to read and find out how much YOU need to keep.


Refer to the ATO/your accountant for information for your specific situation. I’ve copied some ATO information here as a general guide .


Documents that you are required to keep can be in written or electronic form. If you make paper or electronic copies they must be a true and clear reproduction of the original.

We recommend that if you store your records electronically you make a back-up copy to ensure the evidence is easily accessible if the original becomes inaccessible or unreadable - for example, where a hard drive is corrupted.

Generally, you must keep your written evidence for five years from the date you lodge your tax return, or, if you:

have claimed a deduction for decline in value (formerly known as depreciation) - five years from the date of your last claim for decline in value

acquire or dispose of an asset - five years after it is certain that no capital gains tax (CGT) event can happen, so you know you don't need the records to work out a capital gain or loss

are in dispute with us - the later of five years from the date you lodge your tax return or when the dispute is finalised.


Or 2 years if your income consists only of:

◦ salary or wages (other than from associates)

◦ interest paid by a financial institution or government body

◦ dividends from an Australian company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)
(there are further quirks – look at ‘simple tax’ on the ATO website

Posted in ATO, document retention, Paperwork, tax



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