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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

Keep One Year

  • 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

  • Employee personnel records (after termination)
  • Employment applications
  • Expired insurance policies
  • General correspondence
  • Internal audit reports
  • Internal reports
  • Petty cash vouchers
  • Physical inventory tags
  • Savings bond registration records of employees
  • Time cards for hourly employees

Keep Six Years

  • Accident reports and claims
  • Accounts payable ledgers and schedules
  • Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules
  • Bank statements and reconciliations
  • Cancelled checks
  • Cancelled stock and bond certificates
  • Employment tax records
  • Expense analysis and expense distribution schedules
  • Expired contracts and leases
  • Expired option records
  • Inventories of products, materials and supplies
  • Invoices to customers
  • Notes receivable ledgers and schedules
  • Payroll records and summaries, including payments to pensioners
  • Plant cost ledgers
  • Purchasing department copies of purchase orders
  • Records related to net operating losses (NOLs)
  • Sales records
  • Subsidiary ledgers
  • Time books
  • Travel and entertainment records
  • Voucher for payments to vendors, employees, etc.
  • Voucher register and schedules

Keep Permanently

  • Audit reports of accountants
  • Cancelled checks for important payments
  • Cash books, charts of accounts
  • Contracts and leases still in effect
  • Corporate documents (incorporation, charter, by-laws, etc.)
  • Documents substantiating fixed asset additions
  • Depreciation schedules
  • Financial statements (end-of-year)entertainment records
  • General and private ledgers (and end-of-year trial balances)
  • Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies
  • Investment trade confirmations
  • IRS revenue agent reports
  • Journals
  • Legal records, correspondence and other important matters
  • Minute books of directors and stockholders
  • Mortgage and bills of sale
  • Property appraisals by outside appraisers
  • Property records
  • Retirement and pension records
  • Tax returns and worksheets
  • Trademark and patent 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)
  • Sales receipts
  • Wage garnishments
  • Other tax-related bills

Keep Permanently

  • CPA audit reports
  • Legal records
  • Important correspondence
  • Income tax returns
  • Income tax payment checks
  • Property records / improvement receipts (or six years after property sold)
  • Investment trade confirmations
  • Retirement and pension records (Forms 5448, 1099-R and 8606 until all distributions are made from your IRA or other qualified plan)

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)
  • 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)