A BP over 132 is dangerous

Retention obligation

The retention obligation applies to all accounting documents and records (accounts, receipts, business papers, statement of income and expenses, etc.) and is seven years. The period starts at the end of the calendar year for which the posting was made or to which the document relates.

In the case of EDP bookkeeping or EDP records, the data must be stored in appropriate electronic form on data carriers and made available in the event of an audit (ยงยง 131, 132 Federal Tax Code - BAO).


An incoming invoice dated January 3, 2017 must be kept until December 31, 2024. Only on January 1, 2025 can the accounting documents relating to the year 2017, including the associated receipts, be withdrawn.

The retention periods can also be twelve years if, for example, documents and records are concerned that relate to properties, for certain properties even 22 years (Section 18 (10) of the Sales Tax Act - UStG). In addition, in pending tax or court proceedings, the documents must be kept despite the deadline.

The accounting documents can also be archived electronically. The tax law allows the use of document scanners, microfilms and data carriers if the complete, orderly, identical content and faithful reproduction is guaranteed at all times until the statutory retention period has expired. Insofar as such documents are only available on data carriers, there is no requirement for a reproduction true to the original (Section 132 (2) BAO).

In the case of a business year that deviates from the calendar year, the period starts at the end of the calendar year in which the business year ends (Section 132 (1) BAO).

Last updated: May 4, 2021
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