Retention Guidelines

In business, good record keeping is essential not only for tax reporting purposes but also for the success of the company.


Below are some examples of records retention periods.


Accident reports/claims (settled cases)7 years
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules7 years
Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules7 years
Audit reportsPermanent
Bank reconciliations2 years
Bank statements3 years
Capital stock and bond records,
ledgers, transfer registers, stubs, etc.
Cash booksPermanent
Charts of accountsPermanent
Checks, cancelled (for important payments) taxes,
purchases of property, special contracts, etc.
Checks, cancelled7 years
Contracts, mortgages, notes, leases – expired7 years
Contracts, mortgages, notes, leases – activePermanent
Correspondence – general2 years
Correspondence – legal and importantPermanent
Deeds, mortgages, bills of salePermanent
Depreciation schedulesPermanent
Deposit slips, duplicates2 years
Employment applications3 years
Expense analysis/expense distribution schedules7 years
Financial statementsPermanent
Garnishments7 years
General/private ledgers, year-end trial balancePermanent
Insurance policies – expired3 years
Insurance records – current, accident reports, claims, policiesPermanent
Internal audit reports3 years
Internal reports – general3 years
Inventories7 years
Invoices7 years
Magnetic tape and tab cards1 year
Minute books of directors, stockholders, bylaws, charterPermanent
Notes receivable ledgers and schedules7 years
Option records – expired7 years
Patents and related papersPermanent
Payroll records and summaries7 years
Personnel files – terminated7 years
Petty cash vouchers3 years
Physical inventory tags3 years
Plant cost ledgers7 years
Property appraisals by outside appraisersPermanent
Property records (costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, blueprints, etc.)Permanent
Purchase orders – except purchasing department copy1 year
Purchase orders – purchasing department copy7 years
Receiving sheets1 year
Requisitions1 year
Retirement and pension recordsPermanent
Sales commission reports3 years
Sales records7 years
Scrap and salvage records7 years
Stenographers’ notebooks1 year
Stock and bond certificates – cancelled7 years
Subsidiary ledgers7 years
Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agents’ reports, etc.Permanent
Time books/cards7 years
Trademark registrations and copyrightsPermanent
Training manualsPermanent
Union agreementsPermanent
Vouchers for payments7 years
Withholding tax statements7 years

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