What is the difference between a minimum and a maximum retention term?

Well that is quite easy. Almost all countries have both minimum and maximum retention periods for certain records. A minimum retention period tells you for how long you should keep data at a minimum. Say the bookkeeping requirement in the Netherlands is minimally 7 years. You could keep your books for longer, but that is not required.

A maximum retention period tells you when to destroy a certain record. When this period has lapsed you are really not supposed to have the record anymore. It is time to say goodbye to it. In some countries, though, there are exceptions when you issue a “legal hold notice” or a “tax hold notice”. This will suspend the need to delete a record in view of a possible litigation, tax audit or investigation. Why do we have maximum retention periods? Well because that is to usually to protect the privacy of a person. Data protection laws often forbid keeping data for longer than necessary for the purposes for which the data were collected.

Even if a country has no minimum retention period for a certain commercial record, advisors often recommend to keep these records until governmental regulators can no longer enforce. And if a record is relevant for your corporate memory advisors usually tell you to retain these even permanently. All these retention periods are included in our record retention schedules.