6.7. Retention plan
Documentation – what to keep
Retention of records (documents) is a core EU regulation. Please check carefully your agreement for retention requirements. In general, these are documents you should keep for a minimum of 2 years after the project closure, for the auditing purposes, however the country managing authority may require to keep the documents longer:
Basic project report documents
- latest approved version of the application form and budget,
- Grant Agreement,
- evidence of the accounting system (either separate accounting system or adequate accounting code/cost centre) for all project-related transactions,
- project partnership agreements and all amendments,
- progress reports including all obligatory annexes, properly signed and submitted,
- list of expenditures,
- copies of main project deliverables,
- publicity items such as brochures, publications, websites, etc.,
- confirmation of receipt of the grant from the previous period.
- documents showing the contractual relationships (e.g., employment contract or other formal agreement) for all employees reporting staff costs (part-time and full-time),
- a document specifying salaries for each relevant month and each person working on the project (e.g., payslips, print-out of the accounting system),
- time records for the number of hours declared. The time records must: be in writing, contain a description of the related activity, be approved by the persons working on the action and their supervisor/project manager,
- proof of payment of salaries and any additional compulsory employer contributions (e.g., social insurance),
- productive hours calculation,
- calculation of hourly rates.
External experts and services
- the selected offer or the contract,
- invoices and proof of payment of external services and experts (e.g. bank account statement),
- deliverables and other evidence of the work carried out by external experts.
Travels and accommodation
- agenda or similar of the meeting/seminar/conference,
- proof of participation (e.g. signed list of participants),
- paid invoices or documents of equivalent probative value (hotel bills, tickets, etc.),
- information on daily subsistence allowance / per diem claims,
- proof of payment of travel and accommodation costs (e.g., bank account statement, receipts, -if applicable- reimbursement to the staff).
- proof of the purchase of the equipment (date and cost),
- in the case of rented equipment: rental contract,
- invoices and proof of payment,
- proof of existence and use on the project (pictures, delivery note, etc.).
Note that the project manager is the one responsible for the financial management of the project and for collecting all the necessary documents related to the expenses carried out from all partners.
The durability rule obliges the funding beneficiary to maintain the EU funded investments for 5 years after the final payments (3 years for investments created by SMEs) for investments in infrastructure or productive investments.
EU publicity display
The EU visibility elements (boards, plaques) do not have to be displayed after the project closure. It is however recommended that these are kept together with all supporting documents until their retention period has elapsed.
The project website is usually expected to be live and include EU visibility elements only until the end of the project. You should make sure to keep the evidence regarding published website content, especially in terms of making the EU funding support channel visible. Printed and PDF archived screenshots should be sufficient.
Equipment (laptops, furniture) after project closure
In general, the durability rules as explained above do not apply to equipment. However, there is an overall requirement to ensure that funds are used for their intended purpose. This is to be interpreted that the equipment should remain in use similar to the project objective.
Cost after closure
Costs after closure are generally not eligible for reimbursement, with some exception regarding activities connected to project closure, evaluation and auditing. These should however be incurred within several weeks of the project closing date.