Record Retention Guide for Businesses

Accounting Bank Corporate Employee Real Property

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'd 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 ledger

Permanent

Inventory records

7 years
(
Permanent for LIFO system)

Loan payment schedules

7 years

Purchase orders (1 copy)

7 years

Sales records

7 years

Tax returns

Permanent

top of page

 
Bank Records Retention Period
Bank reconciliations 2 years
Bank statements 7 years
Cancelled checks 7 years
(
Permanent for real estate purchases)
Electronic payment records 7 years

top of page

 
Corporate Records Retention Period
Board minutes Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Business licenses Permanent
Contracts – major Permanent
Contracts – minor Life + 4 years
Insurance policies Life + 3 years
(
Check with your agent. Liability for prior years can vary.)
Leases/mortgages Permanent
Patents/trademarks Permanent
Shareholder records Permanent
Stock registers Permanent
Stock transactions Permanent

top of page

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

top of page

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

top of page

 

print page

 

Copyright 1999-2007 by Paver Accounting ~~ Last revised: August 2, 2007