Show navigation

How Long Should You Keep Your Records

» Articles » Accounting Articles » Article

January 30, 2006

Is your office drowning in paper? Even with all of the electronic storage mediums available, we often get questions on record retention.

There is no general statue of limitations for how long a business needs to hang on to all of its records. Federal and state governments do not always agree and the rules seem to change more often than we like.

Certain items should be kept permanently. Among these are:

  • articles of incorporation
  • audit reports from accountants
  • deeds and bills of sale
  • important and legal correspondence
  • minute books for director and stockholder meetings
  • assets you depreciate (including records of how much you paid for the property and when you placed assets in service or changed them from personal to business use)
  • capital improvements

Other documents should be kept for a minimum of seven years. These include:

Continue reading below

FREE Accounting Training from Lorman

Lorman has over 33 years of professional training experience.
Join us for a special report and level up your Accounting knowledge!

Tax Aspects of Operating a Partnership-Taxed Organization
Presented by Langdon T. Owen Jr.

Learn More
  • W-2s or 1099s
  • receivable and payable ledgers
  • time cards and compensation paid to employees, independent contractors, repairs, rents, taxes and licenses, bank charges, business insurance, utilities, postage and shipping charges and travel and entertainment expenses
  • accident reports and claims (settled cases)

Documents that can be destroyed after three years include:

  • bank deposit slips
  • general correspondence
  • employee expense reports
  • employment applications

This list is not all-inclusive and represents of our best estimates of the minimum time you should keep certain documents.

It is important to think about adopting a record retention policy for your organization. Consider where the files will be kept, how secure the files will be and the conditions under which the files will need to be stored, as they should be organized in a way that allows easy retrieval.

If you would like a copy of our detailed record retention schedule or have questions about retaining records, please contact your Rea & Associates, Inc. representative.

-By Jim Hensler, CPA (Shareholder, Marietta office) and Kathy Davis, CPA (Principal, Medina office)

The material appearing in this web site is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein is intended only as general information which may or may not reflect the most current developments. Although these materials may be prepared by professionals, they should not be used as a substitute for professional services. If legal or other professional advice is required, the services of a professional should be sought.

The opinions or viewpoints expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Lorman Education Services. All materials and content were prepared by persons and/or entities other than Lorman Education Services, and said other persons and/or entities are solely responsible for their content.

Any links to other web sites are not intended to be referrals or endorsements of these sites. The links provided are maintained by the respective organizations, and they are solely responsible for the content of their own sites.