In some cases, just hearing the words ‘tax man’ or ‘receiver’ can raise the blood pressure of small business owners. There are many ways to ensure your tax return is in order, one of which is keeping your tax submission records safely filed for easy filing and accessibility should you need to refer back.

If you’re a small to medium sized business owner, it’s up to you to maintain records of all documents pertaining to your tax return. These records should not only be kept during the course of the tax year for filing purposes, but you are also required to maintain these records.

According to the SME Toolkit South Africa, the retention periods in terms of the Companies Act and the Close Corporation Act are:

For Closed Corporations (CCs)

DOCUMENT RETENTION PERIOD
1. Founding statement (form CK1) Indefinite
2. Amended founding statement (forms CK2 and CK2A) Indefinite
3. Minute book as well as resolutions passed at meetings Indefinite
4. Annual financial statements including annual accounts and the accounting officer’s report 15 years
5. Accounting records, including supporting schedules to accounting records and ancillary accounting records 15 years
6. The microfilm image of any original record reproduced directly by the camera – the “camera master” Indefinite

For Companies

DOCUMENT RETENTION PERIOD
1. Certificate of incorporation Indefinite
2. Certificate of change of name (if any) Indefinite
3. Memorandum and articles of association Indefinite
4. Certificate to commence business (if any) Indefinite
5. Minute book, CM25, CM26 and resolutions passed at general/class meetings Indefinite
6. Proxy forms 3 years
7. Proxy forms used at Court convened meetings 3 years 3 years
8. Register of allotments after a person ceased to be a member (section 111) 15 years
9. Registration of members 15 years
10. Index of members 15 years
11. Registers of mortgages, debentures and fixed assets 15 years
12. Register of directors’ shareholdings 15 years
13. Register of directors and certain officers 15 years
14. Directors attendance register 15 years
15. Branch register 15 years
16. Annual financial statements including annual accounts, Directors’ report and an Auditors’ report 15 years
17. Books of account recording information required by the Act 15 years
18. Supporting schedules to books of account and ancillary books of account 15 years

If you hang on to your records and information, it will improve your accuracy when submitting your tax return and also assist with forecasting should you need to issue a payment to SARS.  For more information visit the SARS website at www.sars.gov.za.