Technology has made our lives easier to keep records and it has proven how necessary it is by how we coped in the midst of the pandemic.  As you are aware Venta is a paperless office and we pride ourselves on how we can help the environment to minimise paper waste, using high quantity recycled paper to be friendlier on the environment.  We also know our clients do not enjoy keeping years worth of paper copies.  So we thought we should help our clients be more environmentally friendly and free up some of their space.

During the pandemic my Apple iPhone saved a lot of time and even now it still saves me so much time, as one of the functions of an iPhone without an App is to scan documents through your phone.  Founding this out was like receiving Christmas Day presents (apt considering how close we are to Christmas!).  To scan documents on your iPhone or iPad is to Open Notes and Select a note or create a new one.  You then tap the Camera button and then tap Scan Documents. Place your document in view of the camera and the device will automatically scan your document to size.  All that’s left is to make sure to check both sides and scan the other side. Yes, it can save documents as one document or multiple separate documents.

Now all that’s left is to save it and you can even email it to yourself or directly to the person that requires the scan document (i.e. us here at Venta!).

You are probably thinking, what about us android users.  Well, to use the scanning function on a Samsung all you need to do is open the camera app and position the document in the center of your view, then tap the scan button.  There are also many different apps which can be downloaded to be use to scan your documents and keep them in digital form which would help you clear out space in your filing cabinets.

Generally, you must keep your written evidence for 5 years from the date you lodge your tax return.  There are some more specific situations, such as when you have claimed a deduction for decline in value; being depreciation (you would need to keep records for five years from the date of your last claim for decline in value).  Or. if you acquired or disposed of an asset you will need to keep records for the five years after any capital gains tax (‘CGT’) event.  The Australian Taxation Office (‘ATO’) allows you to keep records in either paper or digital format, the document must just be a true and clear copy of the original.

Written evidence does not need to be kept in the same form for each individual circumstance.  This is due to the period of review in which the time period within which the assessment can be amended by the ATO.  The period for review for an income tax return with only ordinary Salary/Wage income and minor deductions which have written evidence is generally two years for individuals.  However, that being said, it is recommended to keep the records for up to 5 years for anything more than a basic income tax return.  We always recommend our clients to keep records for 5 years.  In relation to small businesses records are required to be kept for five years, however with financial transactions and company documents we recommend keeping your written evidence for seven years.  The only other amount of time to keep records is for five years, for all other taxpayers taken from the day after the ATO issue their Notice of Assessment.  A Business Activity Statement (‘BAS’) is generally five years from the day after it has been assessed (deemed to be date of lodgement).

In addition, any company, trust, partnerships or self-managed superannuation fund documents with board minutes, resolutions and statutory books being annual financial accounts and statements need to be kept indefinitely.  There is no time period for these documents.  Again the accounting records with regards to transactions and all supporting documents for these entities need to be kept for seven years.

Now another tip to know is that bank statements are very helpful when you realise you have lost a document or receipt but you know that you paid the amount and just cannot seem to find it anywhere.  If keeping receipts and scanning each receipt is just too hard and you end up losing it.  We recommend having a printed or digital bank statement and going through the line items and describing what the item was.  It makes keeping documents easier, but you must make sure you are only using bank statements if the amount is under $300 and the transactions are not made up of multiple different amounts per transactions.

If you have any problems or questions regarding the time you are meant to keep your documents, please contact us at Venta Belgarum Associates to determine your situation for your individual circumstance.

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