Paperwork in France: how long do I have to keep records?

Paperwork in France: how long do I have to keep records?

Guidance for record keeping for French residents, employees, business and homeowners

Despite technology leaps, worries about forest retention and the need to recycle our paper, running a business or employment in France still generates an enormous stack of papers and documents – some we must keep for a relatively short time, but others for a lifetime.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but the rule is: if in any doubt, keep it. If you are daunted, don’t worry, you can always buy another filing cabinet. Why not print this article and keep it visible in the front of your files? That way, you’ll remember to have an annual clear-out.

30 years

• Insurance cancellation papers
• Employment contracts (until you retire) insurance premiums other than life insurance
• Cheque stubs doctors’, dentists’, and chemists’ bills
• All pension papers medical prescriptions
• Receipts for payment of: motoring fines
• Hospital bills social security payments
• Notaire fees

10 years

• Cheques to pay in (maximum before paying in)
• Mortgage papers (10 yrs after final payment)


• Wills and testaments rent receipts and contracts
• Birth and marriage, death certificates (not just your own – parent’s certificates too) electricity and gas bils
• Diplomas and qualifications life insurance premiums
• Military service papers


• Divorce papers proof of payment of taxes
• Passports and identity documents income Tax returns
• House and property deeds tax rebates
• Salary, pay and social security payments slips (at least until you retire) 3 YEARS
• Life insurance policies television licence
• Inheritance documents


• Medical records

•  Xrays

• Water bills


• Loan repayments (30 yrs from final payment)
• Phone bills
• Car repairs
• Chimney sweeping certificate (needed for fire insurance)
• Construction and building work
• Local taxes (foncières and habitation)

While Guarantee Is Valid and Beyond

• Bank statements and pay-in slips
• Car purchase papers
• House and vehicle insurance contracts
• Invoices and receipts for repairs or services
• Receipts for work or repairs to property
• Invoices for household goods with guarantee
• Estate agents’ fees and commissions
• Insurance compensation claims (longer for medical compensation)

The information in this article is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, professional or financial advice. We encourage you seek the advice of a relevant professional before acting on any of this information. Any links to other resources are provided as sources and assistance, and are not intended as endorsement.

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