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Keeping records

how long do you need to keep tax records

All employee and contractor records must be kept for five years.

We provide a free, interactive software program that will help you understand what records you need to keep, including those related to your workers. It also evaluates whether your record-keeping practices are adequate.

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Other regulatory bodies may have different record-keeping requirements from ours, particularly around how long you have to keep records.

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Employer record keeping

For employees or contractors, you need to keep:

  • copies of tax file number declarations or withholding declarations
  • copies of any contracts you have with contractors
  • records of wages, allowances and other payments made to workers
  • copies of payments and reports provided to the ATO
  • copies of payment summaries
  • super records, including payments you made and records that show you have met your choice of super fund obligations
  • records of fringe benefits provided, tax calculations, worksheets, declarations, elections and supporting details.

Super records

You must keep records that adequately explain your super transactions, including documents that show how you calculated the amount of super you contributed for each employee. If you make super contributions under an award or employment agreement, you may have additional record-keeping obligations, so check your relevant award or regulation.

You also need to keep records that show you’ve met your choice of super fund obligations. These include:

  • details of employees who do not have to

    be offered a choice of super fund (for example, if an employee is not eligible to choose a fund because the certified agreement they are employed under requires super support to be provided to a specified super fund, you need to keep this information)

  • records confirming that the super fund meets the insurance requirements (these could include a copy of the product disclosure statement provided by the fund or a record of a phone conversation with an authorised representative of the fund about the level of insurance it offers)
  • records showing that you have provided the Choosing a super fund – How to complete your Standard choice form (NAT 13080) to all eligible employees.
  • written information an employee provided when they nominated their chosen fund or retirement savings account
  • receipts or other documents issued by funds showing that you have made super contributions for employees to their chosen fund.

For more information, see:

Fringe benefits tax (FBT) records

You must keep records that are adequate to enable your FBT liability to be assessed. You need to keep records that show:

  • the taxable value of each fringe benefit provided to each employee and how it was determined
  • the justification of claims for exemptions or concessions that reduce your FBT liability
  • the fringe benefits provided by an associate (that associate is required to supply these records within 21 days of the end of the FBT year).

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Category: Taxes

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