Document Retention Schedule

Document Retention Schedule


Financial Records

Record Type Retention Period (Years)
Auditors’ reports Permanent
Bank debt deduction 7
Bank deposit slips, reconciliations, statements 4
Bills of lading 4
Budgets 2
Checks – cancelled 4
Contracts – purchases and sales 4*
Credit memos 4
Depreciation records 4*
Employee expense reports 4
Employee payroll records (W2, W-4, annual earnings records, etc) 6*
Financial statements – annual Permanent
Financial statements – interim 4
Freight bills 4
Internal reports (Work orders, sales reports, production reports) 4
Inventory lists 4
Invoices – Sales and cash register receipts, merchandise purchases 4
Invoices – purchases (permanent assets) 4*
General ledger Permanent


General, cash receipts, cash disbursement, and purchase journals Permanent
Payroll journal 4
Subsidiary ledgers (accounts receivables, accounts payable, etc. 6
Time cards and daily time reports 4
Worthless securities 7

Business Records

Articles of incorporation Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Capital stock and bond records Permanent
Contracts and agreements (government construction, partnership, employment, labor, etc.) Permanent
Copyrights and trademark registration Permanent
Legal correspondence Permanent
Minutes Permanent
Mortgages and note agreements 6*
Patents Permanent
Personnel files 4*

Insurance Records

Accident reports 6
Fire inspection reports 6
Group disability records 6
Insurance policies 6*
Safety records 6
Settled insurance claims 4*

Pension / Profit Sharing Records

Actuarial reports Permanent
Associated ledgers and journals Permanent
Financial statements Permanent
IRS approval letter Permanent
Plan and trust agrement Permanent

Tax Records

There is no limit for returns filed fraudelently or substantially underreport income.
Record Type Retention Period (Years)
Tax Returns The time you are required to keep records includes the
period of time during which you can amend your tax return
to claim a credit or refund, or that the IRS can assess more
tax. The following situations contain the periods of
limitations that apply to income tax returns. Unless
otherwise stated, the years refer to the period after the
return was filed. Returns filed before the due date are
treated as filed on the due date.
1. You owe additional tax and situations (2), (3), and
(4), below, do not apply to you; keep records for 3
2. You do not report income that you should report,
and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown
on your return; keep records for 6 years.
3. You file a fraudulent income tax return; keep
records indefinitely.
4. You do not file a return; keep records indefinitely.
5. You file a claim for credit or refund* after you file
your return; keep records for 3 years from the date
you filed your original return or 2 years from the
date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
6. Your claim is due to a bad debt deduction; keep
records for 7 years.
7. Your claim is due to a loss from worthless
securities; keep records for 7 years.
8. Keep information on an asset for the life of the
asset, even when you dispose of the asset; keep
records indefinitely.
9. Keep all employment tax records for at least 4
years after the date that the tax becomes due or is
paid, whichever is later
Sales and use tax returns Permanent
Payroll tax returns 4
Pension / profit sharing informational returns Permanent
All retention periods begin with the date the return was filed. If the statute of limitations concerning a tax year is extended, the retention period should be extended accordingly.
* Retention periods begin after the termination, expiration, disposal, etc. of the item.