How Long Should You Keep Your Documents?
A Guide to PH Records Retention Periods

Posted on July 7, 2022

To keep or not to keep, that is the question. Companies deal with different records throughout the course of their business. From accounting books, customer data, employee records, the list is endless! But are companies required to keep and preserve such documents? For how long should a business retain these records? Below is a roundup of the key policies surrounding records retention here in the Philippines. Read on.

What records must be kept?

Generally, almost all records essential to one’s business must be kept. However, to be more specific, some laws and regulations expressly provide that the following documents must be preserved for specific terms or periods:

  • Records containing personal data

Personal data refers to any information from which the identity of an individual is apparent or can be reasonably and directly ascertained. In the Philippines, the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA) and its Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) are the pertinent laws that govern the processing of personal information.

Common examples of records or files involving personal data are the following:

  • Job applicant’s resume
  • Employee’s personal data
  • Customer’s registration form

How long should you keep personal data?

Under DPA, personal data shall be retained only for as long as necessary:

  1. for the fulfillment of the purposes for which the data was obtained; or 
  2. for the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims; or 
  3. for legitimate business purposes, or as provided by law.

Hence, as a general rule, personal data shall not be retained longer than necessary. The DPA did not provide a specific retention period. But companies may rely on industry standards, as well as other laws and regulations that apply to their sector.

  • Accounting Books and Records

While the law does not provide for a specific retention period for personal data, the same is not the case for accounting books and records. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), through its RR 17-2013 and RR 05-2014, expressly named what files must be kept and up to how long they should be stored.

To be more exact, the Revenue Regulations specifically stated that the following accounting documents must be “preserved intact, unaltered, and unmutilated”:

  • Books of Accounts
  • Subsidiary books
  • Registers
  • Other accounting records (e.g. corresponding invoices, receipts, vouchers and returns, and other source documents supporting the entries in the book of accounts).

How long should you keep books of accounts and other accounting records?

RR 05-2014 requires companies to retain books of accounts and other accounting records  for a period of ten (10) years. 

The counting of such periods shall begin from the day following the deadline in filing a return. In case it is filed after the deadline, then the counting shall instead begin from the date of the filing of the return for the taxable year when the last entry was made in the books of accounts.

Hardcopies of the accounting records are required to be kept in the first five (5) years. Thereafter, companies may dispose of the physical materials and retain only electronic copies of the documents via an electronic storage system.

We’ll help you comply with these policies!

Now that you have an idea on how long you should keep these important business records, it’s time to take the first step towards compliance by talking to us. We take pride in our over 15 years of experience in extending Document Management System (DMS) solutions to businesses who need them. 

You may ditch the hassle of having to manually delete data by investing in Documentum, a leading document management software that allows organizations to automatically apply and enforce retention policies on selected files and/or folders. 


Aside from the automatic application of retention requirements, Documentum also comes with a Legal Hold option, which allows companies to place their files with legal controversies on hold. This will suspend the retention period for auto-purging documents until the Legal Hold is lifted.


As the sole distributor of Documentum in the Philippines, we can help you automate your records to comply with the legal and regulatory requirements in the country. You may check out our website to know more about our products and services. You may also reach us at (+63) 917 715 0203 or (02) 5310 1021.

Are you ready to take the first step of your digitization journey?
Contact us for a price quote to get started!

© Infobuilder Technologies, Inc. 2020-2021. All rights reserved.