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Tax & Assurance Guidance

Record Retention Schedule

Posted on February 6, 2017 by

Clayton & Mckervey

Clayton & McKervey

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As companies and individuals often inquire about how long to maintain records as both a best practice, and for legal reasons, the table below offers these guidelines.

Item Record Retention
1099s 7 years
Accident reports / claims (settled cases) 7 years
Accounts payable & receivable ledgers and schedules 7 years
Audit reports Permanent
Bank deposit slips 7 years
Bank reconciliations 2 years
Bank statements 7 years
Board minutes Permanent
Brokerage statements (year-end) Ownership + 7 years
Business licenses Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Capital stock and bond records Permanent
Cash books Permanent
Charitable contribution records 7 years
Chart of accounts Permanent
Checks – Taxes, real estate, special contracts (file with papers related to transaction)
Checks – Supporting tax deductions for individual tax return
Checks – All other
7 years
7 years
Construction records Permanent
Contracts – major
Contracts – minor
Life + 4 years
Correspondence – General
Correspondence – Legals and important matters
Correspondence – Routine (with customers and/or vendors)
2 years
2 years
Credit card statements 7 years
Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale Permanent
Depreciation schedules Permanent
Dividend reinvestment records Ownership + 7 years
Divorce documents Permanent
Electronic payment records 7 years
Employee files (ex-employees) 7 years
Employment applications 3 years
Employment taxes 7 years
Estate planning documents Permanant
Expense records 7 years
Financial statements (annual) Permanent
Fixed asset purchases Permanent
General/private ledgers Permanent
Home purchase and improvement documents Ownership + 7 years
Home repair receipts Warranty period
Insurance policies Life + 3 years
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, etc. Permanent
Internal audit reports (longer retention periods may be desirable) 3 years
Inventory records – LIFO
Inventory records – All other
7 years
Investment purchase and sales documents Ownership + 7 years
IRA annual reports and nondeductible contributions Form 8606 Permanent
Journals Permanent
Leasehold improvements Permanent
Lease payment records Life + 4 years
Leases / mortgages Permanent
Loan payment schedules 7 years
Loans Term of loan + 7 years
Mutual fund annual statements Ownership + 7 years
Notes receivable ledgers and schedules 7 years
Options records (expired) 7 years
Patents / trademarks Permanent
Payroll records 7 years
Pension / 401k / profit sharing plans Permanent
Petty cash vouchers 3 years
Physical inventory tags 3 years
Plant cost ledgers 7 years
Property appraisals by outside appraisers Permanent
Property records, including costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints and plans Permanent
Purchase orders 7 years
Real estate purchases Permanent
Receiving sheets 1 year
Retirement plan annual reports Permanent
Requisitions 1 year
Sales commission reports 3 years
Sales records 7 years
Scrap, salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.) 7 years
Shareholder records Permanent
Stock registers and transactions Permanent
Subsidiary ledgers 7 years
Tax returns and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability 7 years*
Time books / cards 7 years
Trademark registration and copyrights Permanent
Trial balance (year-end) Permanent
Training manuals Permanent
Union agreements Permanent
Voucher register and schedules 7 years
Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, etc. (Includes allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers, etc., for travel and entertainment expenses.) 7 years
W-2 forms 7 years

*Tax returns supporting net operating loss carryforwards should be maintained until the net operating loss is used plus 7 years. Tax documents that support basis in a pass-thru entity (K-1’s) should be maintained until the interest in the entity is disposed of plus 7 years.

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