Guides

Guidelines for Record Retention: Chart

Running a business generates an immense volume of documents, ranging from legally required organizational paperwork and tax forms to routine emails. This handy, one-page chart provides guidance on how you long you must, or should, retain documents related to various types of activities, such as taxes and employment records.

 

Category

Type of Record

Retention Period

Accounting & Tax

Audit ReportsPermanent
 Chart of Accounts Permanent
 Depreciation Schedules Permanent
 Financial Statements Permanent
 Fixed Asset Purchases
 
Permanent
 General Ledger Permanent
 Tax ReturnsPermanent
 Accounts Payable.7 years
 Accounts Receivable7 years
 Expense Records7 years
 Inventory Records7 years
 Loan Payment Schedules7 years
 Purchase Orders7 years
 Sales Records7 years

Banking

Bank statements7 years
 Canceled checks7 years
 Electronic payment records7 years

 

Bank reconciliations2 years

Corporate

Board minutesPermanent
 Business licensesPermanent
 BylawsPermanent
 Insurance policiesPermanent
 Leases/mortgagesPermanent
 Patents/trademarksPermanent
 ShareholderPermanent
 Stock registersPermanent
 Stock transactionsPermanent
 Contracts - majorLife + 4 years

Employees

Benefit , Pension & Profit-Sharing PlansPermanent
 Employee files (Former employees)7 years
 Employment taxes records7 years
 Payroll records7 years
 Employment applications3 years

Real Property

Construction contracts & recordsPermanent
 Leasehold improvementsPermanent
 Real estate purchasesPermanent
 Lease payment receiptsLease term + 4 years

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