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  • Records you need to keep for longer than five years

    There are some situations, where you will have to keep records for longer than the general five-year retention period, including:

    Records connected to an assessment that's amended

    You should keep records long enough to cover the period of review (also known as the amendment period) for an assessment that uses information from the record.

    The period of review is the time period within which the assessment can be amended by you or by us.

    For example, the period of review for:

    • an income tax return is generally two years for individuals and small businesses and four years for other taxpayers, from the day after we give you the notice of assessment
    • a business activity statement (BAS) is generally four years from the day after the notice of assessment is given
    • a fringe benefits tax return is generally three years from your date of lodgment.

    You need to keep your records long enough to cover the five-year retention period and the period of review for the relevant assessment. In many cases, the five-year retention period will also cover the period of review.

    When your assessment is amended, the period of review for that amended assessment restarts from the day after we give you the notice of amended assessment.

    See also:

    Records of information used again in a future return

    If you use information from a record in your tax return in one financial year and then use that information again in a future return, you need to keep that record until the period of review for the later tax return has ended.

    Examples include:

    • If you have to spread your borrowing expenses over five years, you would need to keep those records for long enough to cover the period of review for the tax return from the last year in which you claimed those expenses.
    • If you work out that you made a business loss in 2012–13 and you carry that loss forward and deduct it in your business's 2018–19 tax return, you need to keep the records you used to work out the loss until, at least, the 2018–19 tax return's period of review has ended.

    See also:

    • Time limits on income tax amendments
    • TD 2007/2 Income tax: should a taxpayer who has incurred a tax loss or made a net capital loss for an income year retain records relevant to the ascertainment of that loss only for the record retention period prescribed under income tax law?

    Records of depreciating assets

    For depreciating assets, you generally need to keep the record for as long as you have the asset for, and then another five years after you sell, or otherwise dispose of, the asset. However, there are different time periods and requirements that apply if the depreciating asset is in a low-value pool or is subject to rollover relief.

    Find out about:

    Records of capital gains tax assets

    For capital gains tax (CGT) assets, you generally need to keep the record for as long as you have the asset, and then another five years after you sell, or otherwise dispose of, the asset.

    Find out about:

    See also:

    Petroleum resource rent tax records

    Petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT) records need to be kept for seven years or more.

    Find out about:

    See also:

    Last modified: 28 Nov 2019QC 60719