Reffue, Pas, Jacobson, Knox & Koster LLP

Retaining Records

How long should you retain records? Below is a list of general guidelines.

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Accident reports/claims (settled cases)7 years
Accounts payable ledgers & schedules7 years
Accounts receivable ledgers & schedules7 years
Audit reportsPermanently
Bank reconciliations2 years
Bank statements3 years
Capital stock & bond records: ledgers, transfer registers, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupons, options, etc.Permanently
Cash booksPermanently
Charts of accountsPermanently
Checks (canceled – see exception below)7 years
Checks (canceled for important payments – i.e., taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc. Checks should be filed with the papers pertaining to the underlying transaction.)Permanently
Contracts, mortgages, notes, & leases (expired)7 years
Contracts, mortgages, notes, & leases (still in effect)Permanently
Correspondence (general)2 years
Correspondence (legal & important matters only)Permanently
Correspondence (routine) with customers and/or vendors2 years
Deeds, mortgages, & bills of salePermanently
Depreciation schedulesPermanently
Duplicate deposit slips2 years
Employment applications3 years
Expense analyses/expense distribution schedules7 years
Financial statements (year-end, other optional)Permanently
Garnishments7 years
General/private ledgers, year-end trial balancePermanently
Insurance policies (expired)3 years
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc.Permanently
Internal audit reports (longer retention periods may be desirable)3 years
Internal reports (miscellaneous)3 years
Inventories of products, materials, and Supplies7 years
Invoices (to customers, from vendors)7 years
Journals7 years
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Minute books of directors, stockholders, bylaws, and charterPermanently
Notes receivable ledgers & schedules7 years
Option records (expired)7 years
Patents & related papersPermanently
Payroll records & summaries7 years
Personnel files (terminated)7 years
Petty cash vouchers3 years
Physical inventory tags3 years
Plant cost ledgers7 years
Property appraisals by outside appraisersPermanently
Property records, including costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints, & plansPermanently
Purchase orders (except purchasing department copy)1 year
Purchase orders (purchasing department copy)7 years
Receiving sheets1 year
Retirement & pension recordsPermanently
Requisitions1 year
Sales commission reports3 years
Sales records7 years
Scrap & salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.)7 years
Stenographers’ notebooks1 year
Stocks & bonds certificates (canceled)7 years
Stockroom withdrawal forms1 year
Subsidiary ledgers7 years
Tax returns & worksheets, revenue agents’ reports, and other documents relating to determination of income tax liabilityPermanently
Time books/cards7 years
Trademark registrations and copyrights7 years
Training manualsPermanently
Union agreementsPermanently
Voucher register & schedules7 years
Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, etc. (includes allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers, etc., for travel and entertainment expenses)cell text
Withholding tax statements7 years

NOTE: This information is designed to be of general interest.  The specific techniques and information discussed may not apply to you.  Before acting on any matter contained herein, consult with your professional adviser.