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  • How long you need to keep your records

    In general, you must keep written evidence of expenses and other deductions for the later of five years from when:

    • your tax return is due to be lodged, or
    • you lodge your tax return.

    In the case of depreciating assets (for which you can claim the decline in value over the income year not the purchase cost), you must keep written evidence for

    • the entire period over which you claim deductions for their decline in value; and
    • a further five years from the date of your last claim.

    But if you are in dispute with us, you must keep your written evidence for the later of five years from when:

    • your return is lodged; or
    • the dispute is finalised.

    However, the following records held by individuals with simple tax affairs only need to be retained for two years:

    • a family agreement that is relevant from 1 July 2004 or later
    • a copy of a payment summary given to an individual for 1 July 2004 and later
    • a taxpayer declaration that is made on or after 1 April 2004 for returns and documents lodged with us by a tax agent on a taxpayer's behalf, authorising the agent to lodge and declaring that the information supplied is correct (for example, your declaration on a agent-lodged tax return).

    Example: Keeping records

    Linda buys a computer for $4,000 in July 2012. Linda uses her computer for work 60% of the time. She claims 60% of the decline in value on the cost of her computer over four years. Linda's last claim for a deduction for decline in value is on her 2016 tax return which she lodges on 14 October 2016.

    Linda must keep her records until 31 October 2021. If at this time she is in a dispute with us that relates to this claim, she must keep her records until the dispute is resolved.

    End of example  

    If you need to correct a mistake, you may need to keep the relevant records for a longer period - until the mistake is resolved.

    Find out more

    Keeping your tax records

    If you have lost your records or they have been destroyed:

    End of find out more  
    • Last modified: 15 Aug 2014QC 31975