Records Retention Recommendations

Need to know how long to hang onto that important document? Here is our list of documents and recommended retention periods. Business documents are an important history of your business's transactions with customers, vendors, creditors and employees. These records should be maintained and available to resolve questions that may arise in the future. Your business records should be easily accessible to authorized personnel in your business.

Your business records should be maintained in accordance with the below recommended periods. Certain circumstances involving pending or potential litigation may require an extension of time for record retention. Your legal counsel should be consulted prior to discarding documents that may be subject to an extended retention period.

Special retention requirements may apply to documents or information maintained on computer systems. The Internal Revenue Service has special computer retrieval requirements when business records are maintained on a computerized system. You should consult with your tax adviser regarding any applicable IRS requirements.

Type of Record Retention
Accident reports & claims 7 years
Accounts payable ledgers 7 years
Accounts receivable ledger 7 years
Audit reports Permanent
Bank reconciliations 1 year
Bank statements 7 years
Canceled checks- important Permanent
Canceled checks- other 1 year
Capital stock and bond records Permanent
Cash books Permanent
Charts of accounts Permanent
Contracts & leases-expired 7 years
Contracts & leases in effect Permanent
Correspondence-customers & vendors 1 year
Correspondence-general 3 years
Correspondence-legal Permanent
Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale Permanent
Depreciation schedules Permanent
Duplicate deposit slips 3 years
Employee personnel records after termination 3 years
Employee benefit plan records 7 years
Employment applications 3 years
Expense analysis & distribution schedules 7 years
Financial statements-year end Permanent
Financial statements-other 7 years
General ledgers & trial balances-year end Permanent
Inherited property records & valuations Permanent
Insurance policies-expired 3 years
Type of Record Retention Period
Insurance records Permanent
Insurance audit reports Permanent
Internal reports Permanent
Inventory records 3 years
Invoices to customers 7 years
Invoices from vendors 7 years
Journals Permanent
Low-income housing records 7 years
Minute books of directors & stockholders Permanent
Notes receivable ledgers 7 years
Option records 7 years
Payroll records 7 years
Petty cash vouchers 3 years
Physical inventory tags 3 years
Property appraisals Permanent
Property records Permanent
Purchase orders 7 years
Receiving sheets 3 years
Requisitions 1 year
Sales records 7 years
Savings bond records-employees 3 years
Scrap & salvage records 7 years
Stock room withdrawal forms 1 year
Subsidiary ledgers 7 years
Tax returns, worksheets & revenue agents' reports Permanent
Time books 7 years
Trade mark registrations Permanent
Voucher registers 7 years