Keep or shred?
The Better Business Bureau’s “Records Retention Schedule”
Canceled checks: seven years unless they are for important payments such as purchases of property or special contracts, in which case keep them permanently.
Contracts, mortgages, notes and leases: permanently, if they are still in effect; seven years if they have expired.
Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale: permanently.
Property records, including costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints and plans, and related documents: permanently.
How Long Do You Need To Keep Specific Documents?
Accident reports/claims (settled cases) – 7 yrs
Accounts payable ledgers & schedules – 7 yrs.
Accounts receivable ledgers & schedules – 7 yrs.
Audit reports – Permanently
Bank reconciliations – 2 yrs.
Bank statements – 3 yrs.
Capital stock & bond records: ledgers, transfer registers, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupons, options, etc – Permanently
Cash books – Permanently
Charts of accounts – Permanently
Checks (canceled – see exception below) – 7 yrs.
Checks (canceled for important payments – i.e., taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc.) – Permanently
Checks should be filed with the papers pertaining to the underlying transaction.) – Permanently
Contracts, mortgages, notes, & leases (expired) -7 yrs.
Contracts, mortgages, notes, & leases (still in effect) – Permanently
Correspondence (general) – 2 yrs.
Correspondence (legal & important matters only) – Permanently
Correspondence (routine) with customers and/or vendors – 2 yrs.
Deeds, mortgages, & bills of sale – Permanently
Depreciation schedules – Permanently
Duplicate deposit slips – 2 yrs.
Employment applications – 3 yrs.
Expense analyses/expense distribution schedules – 7 yrs.
Financial statements (year-end, other optional) – Permanently
Garnishments – 7 yrs.
General/private ledgers, year-end trial balance – Permanently
Insurance policies (expired) – 3 yrs.
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc – Permanently
Internal audit reports (longer retention periods may be desirable) – 3 yrs.
Internal reports (miscellaneous) – 3 yrs.
Inventories of products, materials, and supplies – 7 yrs.
Invoices (to customers, from vendors) – 7 yrs.
Journals – Permanently
Minute books of directors, stockholders, bylaws, and charter – Permanently
Notes receivable ledgers & schedules – 7 yrs.
Option records (expired) – 7 yrs.
Patents & related papers – Permanently
Payroll records & summaries – 7 yrs.
Personnel files (terminated) – 7 yrs.
Petty cash vouchers – 3 yrs.
Physical inventory tags – 3 yrs.
Plant cost ledgers – 7 yrs.
Property appraisals by outside appraisers – Permanently
Property records, including costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints, & plans – Permanently
Purchase orders (except purchasing department copy) -1 yr.
Purchase orders (purchasing department copy) – 7 yrs.
Receiving sheets – 1 yr.
Retirement & pension records – Permanently
Requisitions – 1 yr.
Sales commission reports – 3 yrs.
Sales records – 7 yrs.
Scrap & salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.) – 7 yrs.
Stenographers’ notebooks – 1 yr.
Stocks & bonds certificates (canceled) – 7 yrs.
Stockroom withdrawal forms – 1 yr.
Subsidiary ledgers – 7 yrs.
Tax returns & worksheets, revenue agents’ reports, and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability – Permanently
Time books/cards – 7 yrs.
Trademark registrations and copyrights – Permanently
Training manuals – Permanently
Union agreements – Permanently
Voucher register & schedules – 7 yrs.
Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, (includes allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers, for travel and entertainment expenses) – 7 yrs.
Withholding tax statements – 7 yrs.
VERSE: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” Psalm 150
QUOTE: “A person who loves his job, will never work a day in his life.”
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