Keeping accounting documents
In principle, businesses can keep accounting documents either in electronic or paper format. However, you can only throw away original paper receipts and invoices after digitisation in case the digitisation is done by a certified service provider, called PSDC. If you are not working with a PSDC-certified service provider, it is advised to still keep paper receipts and invoices, also after digitisation. Electronic invoices can be stored electronically without a paper version, as the electronic document is then the original form. Receipts and invoices must be stored for 10 years.
Article 1334-1 of the states that copies in digital form have the same probative value as the original paper document if the digitisation is done by a PSDC provider. The second paragraph of the article states that a copy cannot be rejected by a judge based on the sole ground that it is in electronic form or the digitisation is not done by a PSDC provider. However, based on the (electronic archiving), (PSDC certification) and article 1334-1, para. 1 of the Civil Code, it is clear that the value of an electronic copy digitised by a PSDC provider and a non-PSDC provider is ultimately not the same.
PSDC stands for Prestataires de Services de Dématérialisation ou de Conservation. It is defined as a status attributed by ILNAS to a legal person carrying out, on a principal or secondary basis, for its own needs or within the framework of services offered to its customers, dematerialisation or storage processes formally recognised by ILNAS as complying with the requirements and to the measurements defined in the technical rule. The requirements relate to the integrity, security and confidentiality of the dematerialisation and storage processes.
Currently, only a handful of organisations have obtained PSDC status.