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Records Retention Guide

In business, good recordkeeping is essential not only for tax reporting purposes but also for the success of the company. The guidelines below give retention periods for the most common business records. Call us if you'd like more information or assistance with your record retention program.

 
 

Accounting Records

Retention Period

 

Accounts payable

7 years

 

Accounts receivable

7 years

 

Audit reports

Permanent

 

Chart of accounts

Permanent

 

Depreciation schedules

Permanent

 

Expense records

7 years

 

Financial statements (annual)

Permanent

 

Fixed asset purchases

Permanent

 

General ledger

Permanent

 

Inventory records

7 years
(
Permanent for LIFO system)

 

Loan payment schedules

7 years

 

Purchase orders (1 copy)

7 years

 

Sales records

7 years

 

Tax returns

Permanent

 

 
  Bank Records Retention Period
 

Bank reconciliations

2 years

 

Bank statements

7 years

 

Cancelled or substitute checks

7 years
(
Permanent for real estate purchases)

 

Electronic payment records

7 years

   
 

Corporate Records

Retention Period

 

Board minutes

Permanent

 

Bylaws

Permanent

 

Business licenses

Permanent

 

Contracts – major

Permanent

 

Contracts – minor

Life + 4 years

 

Insurance policies

Life + 3 years
(
Check with your agent. Liability for prior years can vary.)

 

Leases/mortgages

Permanent

 

Patents/trademarks

Permanent

 

Shareholder records

Permanent

 

Stock registers

Permanent

 

Stock transactions

Permanent

 

 
 

Employee Records

Retention Period

 

Benefit plans

Permanent

 

Employee files (ex-employees)

7 years
(
Or statute of limitations for employee lawsuits)

 

Employment applications

3 years

 

Employment taxes

7 years

 

Payroll records

7 years

 

Pension/profit sharing plans

Permanent

 

 

Real Property Records

Retention Period

 

Construction records

Permanent

 

Leasehold improvements

Permanent

 

Lease payment records

Life + 4 years

 

Real estate purchases

Permanent

 

 
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