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Selling or closing your business – records

ATO information for businesses about the records you need to keep if you sell or close your business.

Last updated 27 November 2019

If you sell or close your business, you should call us so that we can let you know what you need to do. You may have to finalise some GST, employee, contractor or other obligations.

If you sell or close your business during a period of review, these records can still be requested in the event the business is subject to a review or audit.

You will have to keep records relating to:

  • sales (including the sale of your business and assets) and purchases
  • payments to employees
  • payments to other businesses.

You need to keep these records for five years from when you prepared or obtained the records, or completed the transactions or acts those records relate to, whichever is later.

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You may also need to contact other government agencies to let them know of your change of situation. For example, if you are ceasing a company, contact the Australian Securities & Investments CommissionExternal Link (ASIC) to cancel your Australian company number (ACN).

Records from liquidation and insolvency

A company becomes insolvent when it is unable to pay its debts when they are due for payment.

An insolvent company is wound up on the application of relevant stakeholders such as creditors (including the ATO), shareholders or a regulatory agency (such as ASIC).

If the company is wound up, a liquidator is appointed which takes control of the existing company records. The liquidator is also responsible for preparing records to explain their acts and dealings relating to the company as a liquidator.

For tax purposes, the records are generally to be kept for five years. However, other regulatory bodies' laws may require records to be kept for a period of seven years.

We recommend that you check the record-keeping requirements of all the regulatory bodies you have been dealing with.

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