This post was last updated on March 25th, 2021 at 10:23 am.
How long should you keep important documents?
Spring is in the air!
If you are like me, you may feel motivated to do a little spring cleaning around the house. It feels good to get rid of papers, magazines, and other items that have been accumulating all winter.
The sweater Aunt Marge gave you for Christmas three years ago that you never wear? Donate it. The crumbling macaroni art your adult son made for you when he was in preschool? You can probably live without it. How about the folder of old bank statements in your file cabinet? That one might be a little trickier.
Here is a list of various business and personal records and suggested guidelines* for how long you should keep them. Happy Spring Cleaning!
|1099’s received||7 years|
|Accounts payable ledgers & schedules||7 years|
|Accounts receivable ledgers & schedules||7 years|
|Annual information returns||Permanently|
|Audit report of accountants||Permanently|
|Bank reconciliations||7 years|
|Bank statements||7 years|
|Capital stock and bond records||Permanently|
|Canceled checks – except below||7 years|
|Canceled checks for important payments (e.g. taxes, purchase of property)||Permanently|
|Contracts, mortgages, notes – expired||7 years|
|Contracts, mortgages, notes – in effect||Permanently|
|Correspondence (general)||2 years|
|Correspondence (legal & important matters)||Permanently|
|Deeds, mortgages, bills of sale||Permanently|
|Duplicate deposit slips||2 years|
|Employee files (terminated)||7 years|
|Employee applications||3 years|
|Expense analysis||7 years|
|Financial Statements – year end||Permanently|
|Gifts- record of terms, conditions, & restrictions||Permanently|
|Insurance policies – expired||3 years|
|Insurance records- current||Permanently|
|Internal audit reports||3 years|
|Invoices to customers or from vendors||7 years|
|Minute books of directors, stockholders, bylaws, & charter||Permanently|
|Notes receivable ledgers & schedules||7 years|
|OSHA records||6 years|
|Payroll records||7 years|
|Payroll tax reports||7 years|
|Petty cash vouchers||3 years|
|Property records including costs, depreciation, blueprints, & plans||Permanently|
|Purchase orders||1 year|
|Retirement and Pension records||Permanently|
|Sales commission reports||3 years|
|Service contracts/extended warranty||10 years after termination|
|Subsidiary ledgers||7 years|
|Tax exemption documents||Permanently|
|Time cards||2 years|
|Trademark registration & copyrights||Permanently|
|Withholding tax statements||7 years|
|Year-end brokerage statements||7 years|
*It should be noted that record retention schedules may vary from state to state. Please contact your attorney or CPA to get guidelines that are specific to you.
This post was written by Karla, an accountant with Icon Systems:
Karla is a CPA licensed in the states of Minnesota and North Dakota and has over 20 years of accounting experience. She has a servant’s heart for working with churches. When not at work, she enjoys gardening, reading, Bible study, and spending time with her friends and family.
Photo Credit: internetsense