Records Rentention Guide

This handy guide will help bring your information storage under control.

Document/Record
Retention Period
Accident reports and claims (settled cases)
7 yrs.
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules
7 yrs.
Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules
7 yrs.
Audit reports of accountants
Permanently
Bank reconciliations
1 yr.
Capital stock and bond records; ledgers, transfer registers, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupons, options, etc.
Permanently
Cash books
Permanently
Charts of accounts
Permanently
Checks (cancelled but see exception below)
7 yrs.
Checks (cancelled for important payments, i.e., taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc. (checks should be filed with the papers pertaining to the underlying transaction))
Permanently
Contracts and leases (expired)
7 yrs.
Contracts and leases still in effect
Permanently
Correspondence (routine) with customers or vendors
1 yr.
Correspondence (general)
3 yrs.
Correspondence (legal and important matters only)
Permanently
Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale
Permanently
Depreciation schedules
Permanently
Duplicate deposit
1 yr.
Employee personnel records (after termination)
7 yrs.
Employment applications
3 yrs.
Expense analyses and expense distribution schedules
7 yrs.
Financial statements (end-of-year, other months optional)
Permanently
General and private ledgers (and end-of-year trial balances)
Permanently
Insurance policies (expired)
3 yrs.
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc.
Permanently
Internal audit reports (in some situations, longer retention periods may be desirable)
3 yrs.
Internal reports (miscellaneous)
3 yrs.
Inventories of products, materials, and supplies
7 yrs.
Invoices to customers
7 yrs.
Invoices from vendors
7 yrs.
Journals
Permanently
Minute books for directors and stockholders, including by-laws and charters
Permanently
Notes receivable ledgers and schedules
7 yrs.
Option records (expired)
7 yrs.
Payroll records and summaries, including payments to pensioners
7 yrs.
Petty cash voucher
3 yrs.
Physical inventory tags
3 yrs.
Plant cost ledgers
7 yrs.
Property appraisals by outside appraisers
Permanently
Property records–including costs, depreciation reserves, end-of-year trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints and plans
Permanently
Purchase orders (except purchasing department copy)
1 yr.
Purchase orders (purchasing department copy)
7 yrs.
Receiving sheets
1 yr.
Requisitions
1 yr.
Sales records
7 yrs.
Savings bond registration records of employees
3 yrs.
Scrap and salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.)
7 yrs.
Stenographer’s notebooks
1 yr.
Stock and bond certificates (cancelled)
Permanently
Stockroom withdrawal forms
1 yr.
Subsidiary ledgers
7 yrs.
Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agents’ reports and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability
Permanently
Time books
7 yrs.
Trade mark registrations
Permanently
Voucher register and schedules
7 yrs.
Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, etc. (includes allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers, etc. for travel and entertainment expenses)
7 yrs.