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Everett & Boetticher, P.C. CPA's

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Record Retention . . . . . . .

How Long?



Organizing your business and personal files can be daunting, but this task can be more manageable if you know how long each record should be kept. The following list provides basic record retention guidelines. However, you should keep current on requirements for your specific industry and be alert to changes in IRS regulations. When in doubt, keeping records a little longer is always better.



 
Retention Period
   
Retention Period
Accident Reports/Claims (settled cases)
7 years
  Notes Receivable Ledgers and Schedules
7 years
Accounts Payable Ledgers and Schedules
7 years
  Option Records (expired)
7 years
Accounts Receivable Ledgers and Schedules
7 years
  Patents and Related Papers
Permanently
Adoption/Custody Agreements
Permanently
  Payroll Records and Summaries
7 years
Audit Reports
Permanently
  Payroll Tax Reports
Permanently
Bank Reconciliations1
5 years
  Personnel FIles (terminated)
7 years
Bank Statements1
5 years
  Personnel Contracts (expired)
3 years
Birth Certificate
Permanently
  Petty Cash Vouchers
3 years
Capital Stock and Bond Records: ledger, transfer registers, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupons, options, etc.
Permanently
  Physical Inventory Tags
3 years
Cash Books
Permanently
  Plant Cost Ledgers
7 years
Charts of Accounts
Permanently
  Proof of Naturalization, if Foreign Born
Permanently
Checks (canceled - see exception below)
7 years
  Property Appraisals by Outside Appraisers
Permanently
Checks (canceled for important payments, i.e., taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc. Checks should be filed with the papers pertaining to the underlying transaction.)
Permanently
  Property Record, including costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trail balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints and plans
Permanently
Contracts, Mortgages, Notes and Leases: expired
7 years
  Purchase Orders (except purchasing department copy)
1 year
Contracts, Mortgages, Notes and Leases: still in effect
Permanently
  Purchase Orders (purchasing department copy)
7 years
Correspondence (general)
2 years
  Receiving Sheets
1 year
Correspondence (legal and important matters only)
Permanently
  Retirement and Pension Records
Permanently
Correspondence (routine) with customers and/or vendors
2 years
  Requisitions
1 year
Deeds, Mortgages and Bills of Sale
Permanently
  Sales Commission Reports
3 years
Depreciation Schedules
Permanently
  Sales Contracts
7 years
Duplicate Deposit Slips
3 years
  Sales Records
7 years
Employment Applications
3 years
  Scrap and Salvage Records (inventories, sales, etc.
7 years
Expense Analyses/Expense Distribution Schedules
7 years
  Stenographers Notebooks
1 year
Financial Statements (year end, other optional)
Permanently
  Stock and Bond Certificates (canceled)
7 years
Garnishments
7 years
  Stockroom Withdrawal Forms
1 year
General/Private Ledgers, Year-end Trial Balance
Permanently
  Subsidiary Ledgers
7 years
Insurance Policies (expired)
5 years
  Tax Returns and Worksheets, Revenue Agents' Reports, and Other Documents Relating to Determination of Income Tax Liability
Permanently
Insurance Records, Current Accident Reports, Claims, Policies, etc.
Permanently
  Time-books/cards
7 years
Internal Audit Reports (longer retention periods may be desirable)
3 years
  Trademark Registrations and Copyrights
Permanently
Internal Reports (miscellaneous)
3 years
  Training Manuals
Permanently
Inventories of Products, Materials and Supplies
7 years
  Union Agreements
Permanently
Invoices (to customers, from vendors)
7 years
  Voucher Register and Schedules
7 years
Journals
Permanently
  Vouchers for Payment to Vendors, Employees, etc. (includes allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers, etc., for travel and entertainment expenses)
7 years
Marriage and Divorce Records
Permanently
  Withholding Tax Statements
7 years
Minute Books of Directors, Stockholders, Bylaws, and Charter
Permanently
     



1While the suggested retention period for bank statements and related reconciliations is 5 years, New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department will go back 6 years during a compensating tax audit. Accordingly, New Mexico businesses may want to retain these documents for longer than the suggested 5 years.



755 S. Telshor Blvd., Suite 201Q
Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011
(505) 522-2244
(505) 522-8049 fax