How Long Should You Keep Your Administrative Documents?

Pay slips, invoices, marriage contract … How long should You keep Your administrative documents?

If it is tempting to clean up all the paperwork from time to time, some papers must be kept for several years

Many documents must be kept for several years in order to assert your rights or respond to any claim on the subject. Here is a small review of the main justifications to put in a safe place.

Permanent paperwork

There are some documents that we can never separate, starting with all those concerning the family. Vital records, divorce decree, marriage contract and family record book must follow you for life, although duplicates can be established in case of loss.

In order to be able to calculate his pension entitlements, all employees must also keep all of their pay slips, contracts and work certificates throughout their professional life and until they retire. Once the course is crossed, he must then carefully keep all his pension payment certificates.

Two, five or ten years of your choice

On the tax side, paperwork is not as long. It takes three years for income tax declarations and notices, as opposed to one year for local tax notices (but three years in case of exemption or abatement). As well, your account statements and check stubs must remain in your hands for five years, while contracts and other insurance vouchers must be kept for two years.

Do not worry about keeping all documents related to your old car. In the event of a problem, you must be able to provide all the purchase and repair invoices during the vehicle’s retention period, but also up to two years after its resale.


As for the bills, everything depends on who issued them: count five years for electricity, gas and water, one year for telephony and two years for proof of return of equipment (box).

The strength of the paper

Because such archives quickly take place, some might be tempted to scan all these documents to get rid of their paper version. Serious mistake! A document provided by a company or administration in paper format loses any legal value in the case of a scanned copy. If it is possible to provide photocopies on certain occasions, the authorities may still require the production of the original.

In the digital age, more and more documents are digitized by the service providers themselves (electricity, telephone, account statements and even taxes) and sent by e-mail to private individuals. In this case, of course, these documents have the same legal value as the old paper versions and obey the same retention periods.