Records Retention Guide: What to Keep and How Long to Keep Them


Permanent Records
Accountants’ audit reports
Annual Financial Statements
Bills of sale for important purchases
Canceled checks (for important purchases)
Capital stock and bond records, other records dealing with the firm’s capital structure
Cash books
Charts of accounts
Contracts and leases (major and/or current)
Correspondence (legal and important matters)
Credit history
Deeds and mortgages
Depreciation schedules
Employee personnel records (after termination)
Financial statements (year-end)
General and private ledgers
Insurance records
Minute books, bylaws and certificate of incorporation
Pension records
Property appraisals
Property records
Tax returns (along with related documents and worksheets)
Trademark registrations

Seven years
Accident records and claims
Accounts payable and receivable ledgers and schedules
Bank statements
Canceled checks (unimportant payments)
Contracts and leases (expired)
Expense analyses and distribution schedules
Expired option records
Insurance policies (expired)
Inventories (of products, materials and supplies)
Invoices (customer and vendor)
Labor records
Notes receivable ledgers and schedules
Payroll records and related documents (including pensioners’ payments)
Plant cost ledgers
Purchasing department copy of purchase orders
Royalty computations
Safety records
Sales records
Scrap and salvage records
Stock and bond certificates (canceled)
Subsidiary ledgers
Time books
Vouchers for payments to vendors, employee and related parties
Excise tax computations
Internal audit reports
Time cards and clock records

Three years
Bank deposit tickets
Bank reconciliations
Correspondence (general)
Employee savings bond registration records
Employment applications
Interim financial statements
Miscellaneous internal reports
Petty cash vouchers
Physical inventory tags
Purchase orders (not purchasing department copy)
Receiving sheets

One year
Stenographer’s notebooks
Stockroom withdrawal forms