Record Retention Guide

We have compiled 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 in 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
  • Individuals

Businesses

Keep One Year

  • Bank reconciliations
  • Correspondence with customers or vendors
  • Duplicate deposit slips
  • Purchase orders (except purchasing department copies)
  • Receiving sheets
  • Requisitions
  • Stenographer's notebooks
  • Stockroom withdrawal forms

Keep Three Years

  • General correspondence
  • Employee personnel records (after termination)
  • Employment applications
  • Expired insurance policies
  • Internal audit reports
  • 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)

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