• Records you need to keep

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    Warning:

    This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.

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    You must keep records of most transactions in English for five years after you prepared or obtained them, or five years after you completed the transactions or acts to which they relate, whichever is the later. Taxation Ruling TR 96/7 - Income tax: record keeping - section 262A - general principles clarifies the record-keeping obligations of small businesses, particularly for cash transactions. If you have losses, you should generally keep records for four years from the year of income when a tax loss is fully deducted or a net capital loss is fully applied.

    We are helping small business operators to meet their record-keeping obligations by reviewing their record-keeping practices. These reviews start with a phone call or a brief visit to the business premises. You can ask questions and an interview is arranged for a later date.

    Some of the more significant record-keeping problems we have identified are failure to:

    • record cash income and expenditure
    • account for personal drawings
    • record goods for your own use
    • separate private expenses from business expenses
    • keep valid tax invoices for creditable acquisitions when registered for the goods and services tax (GST)
    • keep adequate stock records, and
    • keep adequate records to substantiate motor vehicle claims.

    For additional information, see Record keeping for small business (NAT 3029).

    Choice of superannuation fund

    You must keep records that show you have met your choice of superannuation fund obligations. For further information about the records you need to keep, visit our website at www.ato.gov.au/super or phone our Super Choice Infoline.

    Last modified: 25 Oct 2011QC 27987