Payroll is important

Retention period: Do not dispose of the pay slip too early


Who has to keep the payroll documents?

Keeping payslips pays off for both employees and employers. For the former, it makes sense to keep all wage documents until retirement in order to have proof of later pension claims. Employers must also keep the documents for the payroll in their personnel files so that they can prove the gross and net wages of their employees as well as deductions for insurance and taxes at any time. Otherwise there is a risk of legal difficulties with the tax office.

In order as an employer to be obliged to keep business documents, including pay slips, you must Generate at least a turnover of 500,000 euros and a profit of 50,000 euros per year. But also for smaller companies, it is worth keeping in case you need proof or if the employee has lost their own copies of the pay slip.

Offer at a fixed price: preparation of the payroll for all your employees

How long do you have to keep payslips?

As with business letters, lists for inventories and any opening balance, a retention period applies to pay slips. In general, documents that serve as the basis for booking must be kept for ten years. The retention period begins at the end of the respective calendar year, it applies the creation date noted on the pay slip.

Since pay slips relate to income tax, a retention period of six years. So if you have pay slips from 2012, you can dispose of them from 2018. Pay slips from 2018 can be disposed of from the end of 2024.

Overriding payslips: reasons why

As great as the temptation is to simply throw unloved paperwork into the shredder when you next clean up: Anyone who discards important documents too early will run into problems during future checks.

For example, the Federal Insurance Agency requires you to inspect documents that were used for payroll accounting at regular intervals, including all tax documents and payrolls. These controls are used to check pension entitlements or to clarify how contributions are paid for certain periods of time.

In addition, pay slips are important for credit checks. On the basis of the statements, credit institutions check whether the addressee of the statement can repay the loan he has applied for on time and without any problems. In such a case, particular attention is paid to the net salary.

It is also important to get an insight into pay slips for maintenance claims or obligations of your employees. The statements then serve as evidence of the monthly salary, from which the maximum maintenance amount is calculated. In the event of a legal dispute, the employee concerned should then take the pay slips from the last few years with them.

Missing documents can be particularly annoying in the case of suspected tax evasion. If you have misplaced or lost the pay slips in such a situation and cannot legally prove your actual financial situation and the charges for your employees, you not only have to pay back payments to the tax office, but also fines and even imprisonment! You should therefore ensure that you keep copies (printouts and digital copies) in the archive within the retention periods.

If you are worried that you will lose track of your pay slips due to the sheer workload, you can also hire an external service provider. This has the advantage that you not only have to invest time and money in training and materials, but also hand over the legal liability for any mistakes along with the work. Then you can calmly focus on your core business and your employees will receive a legally correct billing for their archive.

The information published on our site is all written and checked by experts with the greatest care. However, we cannot guarantee that it is correct, as laws and regulations are subject to constant change. Therefore, always consult a technical expert in a specific case - we will be happy to put you in touch. assumes no liability for damage caused by errors in the texts.