How Long Should I Keep Records?


How Long Should I Keep Records?

Recommended Business Record Retention Guidelines

1 YEAR
  • I-9 Forms

2 YEARS
  • Budgets
  • Cancelled Checks
  • Employee Benefit Plans

3 YEARS
  • COBRA Records

4 YEARS
  • Bank Deposit Slips, Reconciliations, Statements
  • Bills of Lading
  • Contracts - purchases & sales
  • Credit Memos
  • Depreciation Records
  • Employee Expense Reports
  • Financial Statements-interim
  • Freight Bills
  • Internal Reports (Work Orders, Sales Reports, Production Reports)
  • Inventory Lists Invoices (Sales and Cash Register Receipts, Merchandise Purchases)
  • Invoices - Purchases (Permanent Assets)
  • Payroll Journal
  • Petty Cash Voucher
  • Time Cards & Daily Time Reports
  • Attendance Records
  • Settled Insurance Claims*

6 YEARS
  • Employee Payroll Records (W-2, W-4, annual earnings records)
  • Subsidiary Ledgers (Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable)
  • OSHA Logs
  • Personnel Files*
  • Accident Reports
  • Fire Inspection Reports
  • Group Disability Records
  • Insurance Policies
  • Safety Records
  • Mortgages
  • Contracts

7 YEARS
  • Worthless Securities

11 YEARS
  • Personnel Accident Reports / Injury Claims

40 YEARS
  • Medical & Exposure Records - related to toxic substances

Permanent
  • Auditors’ Reports
  • Bank Debt Deduction
  • Financial Statements - annual
  • General Ledger
  • General Cash Receipts, Cash Disbursements, Purchase Journals
  • Patents
  • Actuarial Reports Permanent
  • Associated Ledgers & Journal
  • Financial Statements
  • IRS Approval Letter
  • Plan and Trust Agreement
  • Deeds
  • Copyrights
  • Trademarks
  • Servicemarks
  • Articles of Corporation
  • Bylaws
  • Capital Stock & Bond Records
  • Contracts & Agreements (Government Construction, Partnership, Employment, Labor, etc.)
  • Legal Correspondence
  • Minutes

*Retention periods begin after termination, expiration, disposal of item

**These are basic guidelines for the length to maintain your records. Laws vary by state, so you should always have your attorney review your records retention program once it is completed.