Record Retention

Every business knows the importance of good record keeping, but just how long do you need to hold onto certain documents? Maintaining adequate records of your business transactions is important for not only tax purposes, but also to serve as a safeguard against unexpected litigation down the road. Here’s an overview of proper record retention.

How long should you keep business records?

Record Type

Retention Period

Accident reports & claims7 years
Accounts payable ledgers7 years
Accounts receivable ledger7 years
Audit reportsPermanent
Bank reconciliations1 year
Bank statements7 years
Canceled checks- importantPermanent
Canceled checks- other1 year
Capital stock and bond recordsPermanent
Cash booksPermanent
Charts of accountsPermanent
Contracts & leases-expired7 years
Contracts & leases in effectPermanent
Correspondence-customers & vendors1 year
Correspondence-general3 years
Deeds, mortgages and bills of salePermanent
Depreciation schedulesPermanent
Duplicate deposit slips3 years
Employee personnel records after termination3 years
Employee benefit plan records7 years
Employment applications3 years
Expense analysis & distribution schedules7 years
Financial statements-year endPermanent
Financial statements-other7 years
General ledgers & trial balances-year endPermanent
Inherited property records & valuationsPermanent
Insurance policies-expired3 years
Insurance recordsPermanent
Insurance audit reportsPermanent
Internal reportsPermanent
Inventory records3 years
Invoices to customers7 years
Invoices from vendors7 years
Low-income housing records7 years
Minute books of directors & stockholdersPermanent
Notes receivable ledgers7 years
Option records7 years
Payroll records7 years
Petty cash vouchers3 years
Physical inventory tags3 years
Property appraisalsPermanent
Property recordsPermanent
Purchase orders7 years
Receiving sheets3 years
Requisitions1 year
Sales records7 years
Savings bond records-employees3 years
Scrap & salvage records7 years
Stock room withdrawal forms1 year
Subsidiary ledgers7 years
Tax returns, worksheets & revenue agents’ reportsPermanent
Time books7 years
Trade mark registrationsPermanent
Voucher registers7 years

While this list provides general recommended record retention periods, certain circumstances may vary. If you have questions about your particular situation, contact our tax experts.