Records Retention

Guidelines for Record Retention

One of the most frequently asked questions certified public accountants get from their clients is how long is it necessary to retain taxpayer records. The answer, of course, varies, dependent on the nature of the record.

We suggest following the guidelines set forth in this Business Records Retention Schedule.

Business Records Retention Schedule

Accident Reports7 years
Accounts Payable/Receivable Ledger7-10 years
Audit ReportsPermanent
Bank Reconciliations1 year or as needed
Capital Stock and Bond RecordsPermanent
Cash BooksPermanent
Chart of AccountsPermanent
Check (canceled, routine)7 years
Check (canceled, important)Permanent
Corporate Records (stock, board minutes)Permanent
Contracts and Leases (expired)3 years
Contracts and Leases in effect7 years
Correspondence (general)3 years
Correspondence on Legal MattersPermanent
Deeds, Mortgages, Bills of SalePermanent
Depreciation SchedulesPermanent
Duplicate Deposit Slips1 year
Employee Personnel Records (terminated)7 years
Employment applications3 years
Expense Analyses and Distribution Schedules7 years
Financial StatementsPermanent
General and Private LedgersPermanent
Insurance Policies (expired)3 years
Insurance Records, Claims, PoliciesPermanent
Internal Audit Records3 years
Inventories7 years
Invoices7 years
Notes Receivables Ledgers7 years
Option Records (expired)7 years
Payroll Record Summaries7 years
Petty Cash Vouchers/Receipts3 years
Physical Inventory Tags3 years
Plant Cost Ledger7 years
Property AppraisalsPermanent
Property RecordsPermanent
Purchase Orders1 year
Purchase Orders (purchasing dept. copy)7 years
Receiving Sheets1 year
Requisitions1 year
Sales Records7 years
Savings Bond Records3 years
Scrap and Salvage Records7 years
Stenographer’s Notebooks1 year
Stock and Bond Certificates (canceled)7 years
Subsidiary Ledgers7 years
Tax Returns (1 copy) and Worksheets, Permanent, Time Books 7 years
Trade Mark RegistrationsPermanent
Voucher Register/Schedules7 years
Vouchers for Payments to Vendors and Employees7 years

Please keep in mind that the above are only guidelines for most situations. Please contact us for guidance with specific records retention questions.