Business Record Retention Guidelines

Business records are vital not only for tax purposes, but also for the general success of the company.  Good records will protect you in an audit, from creditors/debtors, and even in lawsuits! The good news is you don’t have to keep everything. If you did, your records would probably take up a whole office or more! Below is a guideline for what to keep of different types of business records; don’t hesitate to call us for more information or assistance in designing and implementing a record retention plan.

 


Bank Records
Retention Period
Bank Reconciliations 2 years
Bank Statements 7 years
Cancelled checks 7 years (permanent for real estate or other asset purchases)
Electronic payment records 7 years

Corporate Records
Retention Period
Board Minutes Permanently
Business Licenses Permanently
Bylaws Permanently
Insurance Policies Life of entity + 3 years (double check with your agent).
Leases/Mortgages Permanently
Major Contracts Permanently
Minor Contracts Life of entity + 4 years
Patents/Trademarks Permanently
Shareholder Records Permanently
Stock Registers Permanently
Stock Transactions Permanently

Accounting Records
Retention Period
Accounts payable 7 years
Accounts receivable 7 years
Audit reports Permanently
Chart of accounts Permanently
Depreciation Schedules Permanently
Expense Records 7 years
Financial Statements (annual) Permanently
Fixed asset purchases Permanently
General ledger Permanently
Inventory Records 7 years (or permanently for LIFO system)
Loan payment schedules 7 years
Purchase orders (1 copy) 7 years
Sales records 7 years
Tax Returns Permanently

Employee Records
Retention Period
Benefit plans Permanently
Employee files (including ex-employees) 7 years (Or statute of limitation for employee lawsuits)
Employment applications 3 years
Employment taxes 10 years
Payroll records 7 years
Pension/profit-sharing plans Permanently

Real Property Records
Retention Period
Construction records Permanently
Leasehold improvements Permanently
Lease payment records Life of entity + 4 years
Real estate purchases Permanently