Records Retention Guide: What to Keep and What to Shred

  
     

How Long Do You Need To Keep Specific Documents?

Accident reports/claims (settled cases) - 7 yrs

Accounts payable ledgers & schedules - 7 yrs.

Accounts receivable ledgers & schedules - 7 yrs.

Audit reports - Permanently

Bank reconciliations - 2 yrs.

Bank statements - 3 yrs.

Capital stock & bond records: ledgers, transfer registers, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupons, options, etc - Permanently

Cash books - Permanently

Charts of accounts - Permanently

Checks (canceled – see exception below) - 7 yrs.

Checks (canceled for important payments – i.e., taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc.) - Permanently

Checks should be filed with the papers pertaining to the underlying transaction.) - Permanently 

Contracts, mortgages, notes, & leases (expired) -7 yrs. 

Contracts, mortgages, notes, & leases (still in effect) - Permanently 

Correspondence (general) - 2 yrs. 

Correspondence (legal & important matters only) - Permanently 

Correspondence (routine) with customers and/or vendors - 2 yrs.

Deeds, mortgages, & bills of sale - Permanently 

Depreciation schedules - Permanently 

Duplicate deposit slips - 2 yrs. 

Employment applications - 3 yrs. 

Expense analyses/expense distribution schedules - 7 yrs.

Financial statements (year-end, other optional) - Permanently 

Garnishments - 7 yrs. 

General/private ledgers, year-end trial balance - Permanently 

Insurance policies (expired) - 3 yrs. 

Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc - Permanently 

Internal audit reports (longer retention periods may be desirable) - 3 yrs. 

Internal reports (miscellaneous) - 3 yrs. 

Inventories of products, materials, and supplies - 7 yrs. 

Invoices (to customers, from vendors) - 7 yrs.

Journals - Permanently

Minute books of directors, stockholders, bylaws, and charter - Permanently

Notes receivable ledgers & schedules - 7 yrs.

Option records (expired) - 7 yrs.

Patents & related papers - Permanently

Payroll records & summaries - 7 yrs.

Personnel files (terminated) - 7 yrs.

Petty cash vouchers - 3 yrs.

Physical inventory tags - 3 yrs.

Plant cost ledgers - 7 yrs.

Property appraisals by outside appraisers - Permanently

Property records, including costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints, & plans - Permanently

Purchase orders (except purchasing department copy) -1 yr.

Purchase orders (purchasing department copy) - 7 yrs.

Receiving sheets - 1 yr.

Retirement & pension records - Permanently

Requisitions - 1 yr.

Sales commission reports - 3 yrs.

Sales records - 7 yrs.

Scrap & salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.) - 7 yrs.

Stenographers’ notebooks - 1 yr.

Stocks & bonds certificates (canceled) - 7 yrs.

Stockroom withdrawal forms - 1 yr.

Subsidiary ledgers - 7 yrs.

Tax returns & worksheets, revenue agents’ reports, and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability - Permanently

Time books/cards - 7 yrs.

Trademark registrations and copyrights - Permanently

Training manuals - Permanently

Union agreements - Permanently

Voucher register & schedules - 7 yrs.

Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, (includes allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers, for travel and entertainment expenses) - 7 yrs.

Withholding tax statements - 7 yrs. 

 

The retention period is the number of years from the date the tax return was filed. All material presented is for general information only and should not be acted upon without professional assistance.