The government is busy drafting a new decree which will stipulate shorter periods for mandatory document retention. In translation, this means that companies are no longer going to be obligated to keep their financial reports for 20 years and invoices for 10.
The document retention period will be adjusted to the validity period of the document. For instance, a company will not have to keep a contract, with the validity period of one year, after the terms of that document expire.
For now, nobody knows how long are the new document retention periods going to be, but they are definitely going to be shorter.
In the rest of the world, about 80% of documents, both in state institutions nd in companies, are in paper form, while in Serbia that percentage is even higher and it stands at 93. At the moment, the relevant regulation stipulates that documents should be kept between 2 and 70 years, while some should be retained permanently.
Large companies, state institutions, small and medium enterprises, banks, and shops are all faced with the problem of document storage whenever a document is issued in paper.
„Companies are obligated to keep their financial reports for 20 years, which is pointless, because as soon as the report is handed over to the Business Registers Agency it is stored there and there is no need to have copies of it. Invoices must be kept for 10 years. If the Tax Administration had a database that would register all issued invoices, the same principle could be applied“, says Ivan Radak from NALED.
The same situation is in the construction sector, where, for example, location permit must be retained on records for at least three years, although its validity is only one year which is paradoxical. Also, building and exploitation permits should be kept indefinitely.