CFO 4 Your Biz

Record Retention

How long do I need to keep that?

Below is a list of the most common tax and financial records that a business or an individual may need to keep and guidelines for how long the records should be retained.

The information contained on this site is of a general nature and may not be applicable to you. Please call our office for specific guidance regarding your situation.

Businesses

Keep One Year

  • Correspondence with customers or vendors

  • Duplicate deposit slips

  • Purchase orders (except purchasing department copies)

  • Receiving sheets

  • Requisitions

  • Stockroom withdrawal forms

Keep fIVE Years

  • Bank Reconciliations

  • General correspondence

  • Employee personnel records (after termination)

  • Employment applications

  • Expired insurance policies

  • Internal reports

  • Petty cash vouchers

  • Physical inventory tags

  • Savings bond registration records of employees

Keep Seven Years

  • Accident reports and claims

  • Accounts payable ledgers and schedules

  • Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules

  • Cancelled checks

  • Expired contracts and leases

  • Expense analysis and expense distribution schedules

  • Inventories of products, materials and supplies

  • Invoices to customers

  • Notes receivable ledgers and schedules

  • Expired option records

  • Payroll records and summaries, including payments to pensioners

  • Plant cost ledgers

  • Purchasing department copies of purchase orders

  • Sales records

  • Cancelled stock and bond certificates

  • Subsidiary ledgers

  • Time books

  • Voucher register and schedules

  • Voucher for payments to vendors, employees, etc.

Keep Permanently

  • Audit reports of accountants

  • Cash books, charts of accounts

  • Cancelled checks for important payments

  • Contracts and leases still in effect

  • Correspondence on legal and other important matters

  • Deeds

  • Mortgage and bills of sale

  • Depreciation schedules

  • Financial statements (end-of-year)

  • General ledgers (and end-of-year trial balances)

  • Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies

  • Journals

  • Minute books of directors and stockholders

  • Property appraisals by outside appraisers

  • Property records

  • Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agents' reports and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability

  • Trademark registrations

 

Individuals

Keep One Year

  • While it's important to keep year-end mutual fund and IRA contribution statements forever, you don't have to save monthly and quarterly statements once the year-end statement has arrived.

Keep Three Years

  • Credit Card Statements

  • Medical Bills (in case of insurance disputes)

  • Utility Records

  • Expired Insurance Policies

Keep Six Years

  • Supporting Documents For Tax Returns

  • Accident Reports and Claims

  • Medical Bills (if tax-related)

  • Property Records / Improvement Receipts

  • Sales Receipts

  • Wage Garnishments

  • Other Tax-Related Bills

Keep Permanently

  • CPA Audit Reports

  • Legal Records

  • Important Correspondence

  • Income Tax Returns

  • Income Tax Payment Checks

  • Investment Trade Confirmations

  • Retirement and Pension Records

Special Circumstances

  • Car Records (keep until the car is sold)

  • Credit Card Receipts (keep until verified on your statement)

  • Insurance Policies (keep for the life of the policy)

  • Mortgages / Deeds / Leases (keep 6 years beyond the agreement)

  • Pay Stubs (keep until reconciled with your W-2)

  • Property Records / improvement receipts (keep until property sold)

  • Sales Receipts (keep for life of the warranty)

  • Stock and Bond Records (keep for 6 years beyond selling)

  • Warranties and Instructions (keep for the life of the product)

  • Other Bills (keep until payment is verified on the next bill)

  • Depreciation Schedules and Other Capital Asset Records (keep for 3 years after the tax life of the asset)