Record Retention Requirements – Basic Rules for Business Record Retention

By NE Docs | February 9, 2015

Record Retention Requirements – Basic Rules for Business Record Retention

How long am I supposed to keep my records? When establishing record retention guidelines, this will most likely be the first and most important question you will ask. A solid record retention guide, one that strictly follows industry specific record retention requirements, is critical in running a compliant and efficient organization. However, for many business owners, the idea of destroying old files can induce a strong sense of fear. After all, what if you get rid of something you should have kept?

In order to help you prepare your record retention policies, we have compiled some generalized retention requirements for businesses.

Please keep in mind – every industry is different. Please be sure to check your industry and state specific record retention requirements and legal standards before you set out to destroy any of your files.

Accounting Record Retention Requirements:

Record Retention
Accounts Payable 7 Years
Accounts Recievable 7 years
Audit Reports Permanent
Chart of accounts Permanent
Depreciation Schedules Permanent
Expense Reports 7 years
Financial Statements Permanent
Fixed asset purchases Permanent
General Ledger Permanent
Inventory records 7 Years
Loan payment schedules 7 Years
Ourchase orders 7 Years
Sales records 7 Years
Tax returns Permanent

Banking Record Retention Requirements:

Bank reconciliations 2 Years
Bank statements 7 Years
Canceled chacks 7 Years
Electronic payment records 7 Years

Corporate Record Retention Requirements:

Board minutes Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Licenses Permanent
Contracts Permanent
Insurance policies Life+ 3 Years
Leases/mortgages Permanent
Patents Permanent
Trademarks Permanent
Shareholder records Permanent
Stock registers/transactions Permanent

HR Record Retention Requirements:

Benefits Permanent
Employee files 7 Years
Applications 3 Years
Taxes 7 Years
Payroll 7 Years
Pension Permanent
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