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In business, good recordkeeping is essential not only for tax reporting purposes, but also for the success of the company. The guidelines below give retention periods for the most common business records. Call us if you would like more information or assistance with your record retention program.

Accounting Records  Retention Period
Accounts payable 7 years
Accounts receivable 7 years
Audit reports Permanent
Chart of accounts Permanent
Depreciation schedules Permanent
Expense records 7 years
Financial statements (annual) Permanent 
Fixed asset purchases Permanent 
General correspondence 3 years
General ledgers and related books  Permanent
Inventory records 7 years (Permanent for LIFO System)
Investment trade confirmations Permanent
Loan payment schedules 7 years
Purchase orders (1 copy) 7 years
Sales records 7 years
Tax returns and related tax examination reports Permanent

Bank Records
 Retention Period
Bank statements and reconciliations 7 years
Cancelled or substitute checks 7 years (Permanent for real estate purchases and tax payments)
Electronic payment records 7 years

Corporate Records Retention Period
Board minutes Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Business licenses Permanent
Contracts - major Permanent
Contracts - minor Life + 4 Years
Formation / incorporation documents Permanent
Insurance policies Life + 3 years (Check with your agent. Liability for prior years can vary)
Leases/mortgages Permanent
Patents/trademarks Permanent
Shareholder records and stock transactions
Permanent
Shareholder/partner agreements Permanent
Tax elections Permanent

Employee Records
Retention Period
Accident reports and claims 7 years
Benefit plans Permanent
Employee files (ex-employees) 7 years
Employment applications 3 years
Employment taxes 7 years
Payroll records 7 years
Pension/profit sharing plans Permanent

Real Property Records Retention Period
Apprasials Permanent
Construction records Permanent
Deeds Permanent
Leasehold improvements Permanent
Lease payment records Life + 4 years
Real estate purchases Permanent



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