Now it gets technical. A retention trigger is the moment when a law tells you when a maximum or minimum retention period starts running. Easier said, it tells you when you should officially start storing the document. A retention trigger could be related to the actual creation or use of a record, say:

  • The moment of creation of a record, or
  • The date of last activity or update

A retention period can also start on a fixed time in the year, say:

  • Close of the calendar year in which a record was created, or
  • Close of the tax year in which a record was created

A common records retention trigger can also be an action, say:

  • The moment your company starts a litigation,
  • The moment your company issues a tax hold notice, or
  • The moment your company terminates a contract

When the retention period has been triggered, the law defines for how long you will need to keep the record counting from the trigger moment.  So this could be the trigger date + one year (or like normal people would say one year after the moment your company issues a tax hold notice).

Easy breezy you would say, right?