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  • For how many years should we keep old bank payslips, cheque book records, investment receipts, etc?

    Have a query regarding storing past financial records related to banks and investments? Looking out for information regarding how many years they should be maintained ? Scroll through this page where our ISC experts have provided advice for your query.

    During de-cluttering, I came across a file in which I had kept old payslips, cheque books with only the last sheet which lists details of cheques issued from the specific booklet, receipts of mutaul funds' dividends' credited to the bank account, etc. Somebody told me that there is no need to keep them, just tear and throw them away, but another person said it is necessary to keep them for tax purposes. Hence, I would like to get advice on retaining such old bank-related and investment-related documents.

    Specifically, my queries are-
    1. Should I keep all whatever I found, or can I dispose of anything which is over five years old?
    2. Should I keep only what is up to a maximum of three years old?
    3. Should I keep PPF receipts of all the past years, irrespective of how many years back they are?
    4. Are there any other really important bank-related or investment-related documents I would need to retain, other than those which I have mentioned?
  • Answers

    7 Answers found.
  • These days all these records are available online. You can go to the site and download the statement and you can keep a soft copy of the same in your desktop or laptop. There is no need to keep hard copies. Many of the companies are sending the receipts and all information via email and they are sending the details as an attachment to the email. These attachments can be downloaded and stored. Even bank statements can also be viewed online and you can get the statements via email if you want. In that statement, you will get the cheque numbers also which you have issued to other parties. So under these conditions keeping a hard copy of the items is not required. Earlier days I was keeping many files but now I stopped and keeping the online records only.

    Anytime if you want any information you will get it online and you can see that information. So there is no necessity of keeping all these papers these days. so just see the papers received and then tear it off and throw them. But bonds and certificates are to be filed until the money is realised.

    Coming to the need for income tax, these days the scrutiny of our returns are done very fast and we are getting back the excess tax paid very fast. Once your IT returns are scrutinised and you got the confirmation, there may not be any problem. So the information required for income tax such as Form 16. Form 16A and Saral forms can be kept for 3 years. But this forms also you can keep soft copies and necessity of hard copy may not arise. Even for 16 and 16A are also being given online-only these days. So I feel no need to keep all the papers for years together.

    always confident

  • With the latest introduction of online in respect of bank - accounts , the details of keeping the cheque no issued against other parties for the specific withdrawal on any date has become irrelevant and on line system is capable of updating the entire transactions both the debits and credits in systematic ways. In that way the present system is hassle - free and at any moment the present balance can be viewed in the online system.
    In case of requirement, soft - copies can be downloaded if necessary for producing the same to the relevant party.
    In case of filing of income - tax through on line, it is a simple procedure consuming no time in the operation of submitting return. However, the excess amount paid in the form of income - tax, is refunded instatenously due to the provision of online system.
    However, you may keep copies of form 16, form 16 A and Saral for consecutive three years for the production in the relevant office if required.

  • Here are answers
    Specifically, my queries are-
    1. Should I keep all whatever I found, or can I dispose of anything which is over five years old?
    --> Yes scan those documents and dispose it. Digital record of it and that old will help to track later if needed.

    2. Should I keep only what is up to a maximum of three years old?
    --> Not required. Essentially all government papers are asked for latest dated only. E.g. latest payslip for bank loan. So you can scan those documents and dispose it. But I would recommend to keep last 6 month documents at least.
    3. Should I keep PPF receipts of all the past years, irrespective of how many years back they are?
    --> Do you have online PPF account to track balance. If yes then just scan payment receipts and dispose them.

    4. Are there any other really important bank-related or investment-related documents I would need to retain, other than those which I have mentioned?
    --> Yes
    a) Policy documents related to life insurance , Mutual Fund , ULIP are required when you surrender policy in between so make sure to keep welcome kit documents.
    b) Home loan, House papers etc. which are related to your various property are always required original.
    c) If you have paper based payments and don't have online banking or policy account then always keep payment receipt and passbook updated.

    Always take photo of receipts in mobile before throwing them. That way you will have copy of it.

    Life Is Beautiful

  • Due to the availability of the records online the physical copies of these documents has become a redundant thing. Still, on a cautious side it is required to keep the tax related documents for 3 years as the audit agencies insist us to produce the related documents for last three years. For all other matters people follow the golden rule of seven years and important records of last seven years are sufficient to help one in case of some complication or providing physical proof in a court in a legal case or thing like that. Documents like cheque leaves, counterfoils, receipts, bills, PPF counterfoils etc pertaining to earlier periods need not to be preserved.

    Knowledge is power.

  • Answers to queries are given below:

    1. I think there is no need to keep hard copy. All banks have net banking option and all bank are providing e-statements to their customers. Even eFD and eRD and other bank documents are also available in pdf format. You can easily download them and save on your computer/laptop/or mobile phone wherever you want. Many banks are also not giving bank passbooks to their customers and it is available only on request.

    But I think if you have bank passbook keep it updated. Very old passbook can be disposed off. In case of post office pass book, you should keep updated copy. You can disposed off old paper after scanning and save digital format of all these documents with you. So that you can check them if required.

    2. There is no requirement to keep 3 year old papers. You can download 3 year bank statement directly from net banking. It will be available from banks on request also. Keep soft copy of all documents. For loan from banks or any other purpose, only latest documents (upto 6 months old) like latest pay slips and bank statements are asked. So, no need to hold old documents.

    3. As far as PPF receipts you can keep them either in soft or hard copy. You can always get copies of PPF statements from bank if needed.

    4. Bank related documents like FD and RD which are not linked to your net banking account should keep with you in hard as well as soft copy.
    But all other bank documents like FD and RD linked to your net banking account are available online in electronic format. So keep soft copy.
    All investment related documents other than bank documents like life insurance policy, mutual fund, NSC and other documents should be keep safely with you until the maturity of the policy or the money is realized.
    Home loan and property documents are to be keeping safely in original.

    Retain Form 16 and tax receipts of last 3 year with you either in soft or hard copy. But still you really don't need to keep anything if you are a regular tax payer.
    However, on safer side anybody can keep last 7 year record if having any legal issue.

  • If you are generally a prudent and alert person updating you matters then and there or at est not delaying much, then once the prime records are updated and kept, you can dispose of the supporting records and proofs.
    I shall assume the following situations:

    (A). You are an individual without subjecting t any audit, but having only your salary/pension and deposits and some dividends

    1. Bank passbook updated with even the latest transaction- in this case, you just verify and ensure that all your transactions are finding a place in the bank passbook and they are very clear and legible and with needed details. In this case, you need not keep the remittance slips once the credit is shown in the passbook.

    2. Cheque book counterfoil- If all the cheques are used for cash withdrawal and if the passbook is updated with these transactions then you need not keep the counterfoil booklet once it is fully over. For those payments for other purposes like utility payments, if the payments are accepted and you got receipts and your dues are cleared in those utilities, then also you need not keep them.
    3. If your Income Tax returns are assessed and you have got an Assessment order, then you need not keep the PPF receipts, etc for that period, if you have other proof like passbook of PPF, etc with you.

    However, if your IT return assessment/refund is pending then keep all the supporting records for tax return filing until the assessment is over and you have the record.

    I suggest that you monitor and update your bank passbook/statement of Investments very regularly and file them properly for easy reference. When you update them, then and there, write the needed details (if the narrations are not clear on the passbook or statement) so that anytime later the reference is easy. Do not depend on memory alone.

    (B) If you have a business or in someway you are subject o auditing or liable to pay GST etc:
    then you may have to keep every proof until the assessments are cleared and you have the proof record and essential details of those with you.

    In both A and B cases, it is suggested to keep all possible backups records in digital storage wherein you can have more storage for more period without cluttering. But at the same time keep latest and recent records and data in printed and paper form, as sometimes the digital side may fail us at the very critical moment

  • It is true that documents like financial statements, cheque books, passbooks, FD's, post office certificates, government documents in original and copy takes effort and proper handling and it keeps on piling in the shelf for years without our knowledge. It is good to keep a scanned copy of all these documents on your system, drives and cloud which can be easily traced and used when required. A copy can convert to a digital format, and accurately transferred in the google drive can be used anytime, anywhere by just logging to any system through your password and help us get the work done. It is also helpful in case of wear, tear and lost documents as we can get the document no., or certificate no along with other details in order to get a duplicate as and when required. Now as asked by the author for the retention of such documents, let me put more the question in points:

    1. Bank statements or Accounting documents - Receipts( purchases, invoices and expenses) payroll, VAT or GST and tax returns, as well as any supporting documents, should be for a minimum of three years for a private company and for at least six years for public companies as per the Companies Act 2006 and the VAT Act 1994. For individuals, it is safe to keep them for at least five-six years.

    2. Loan or mortgage documents - These documents should be kept for 22 months or max. 3 years after the end of the tax year.

    3. Pension, birth and marriage certificates, copies of wills and other documents - It could be many decades. Everyone needs to see the original during verification and thus needs to be produced as and when required.

    4. Share certificates, insurance, Fds, Post office certificates, documents - These needs to be kept as long as they are valid and provide it to the concern for the claims.

    5. Household bills - These should be kept for at least two years max. and can be disposed of after the new financial year.

    “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." — Morrie Schwartz

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