Record Retention Guide for Businesses

In business, good recordkeeping is essential not only for tax reporting purposes but also for the success of the company. The guidelines below give retention periods for the most common business records. Call us at (518) 456-6663 if you’d like more information or assistance with your record retention program.

Accounting Records

Retention Period

Accounts payable

7 years

Accounts receivable

7 years

Audit reports

Permanent

Chart of accounts

Permanent

Depreciation schedules

Permanent

Expense records

7 years

Financial statements (annual)

Permanent

Fixed asset purchases

Permanent

General ledger

Permanent

Inventory records

7 years
(Permanent for LIFO system)

Loan payment schedules

7 years

Purchase orders (1 copy)

7 years

Sales records

7 years

Tax returns

Permanent

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Bank Records

Retention Period

Bank reconciliations

2 years

Bank statements

7 years

Cancelled or substitute checks

7 years
(Permanent for real estate purchases)

Electronic payment records

7 years

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Corporate Records

Retention Period

Board minutes

Permanent

Business licenses

Permanent

Bylaws

Permanent

Contracts – major

Permanent

Contracts – minor

Life + 4 years

Insurance policies

Life + 3 years
(Check with your agent. Liability for prior years can vary.)

Leases/mortgages

Permanent

Patents/trademarks

Permanent

Shareholder records

Permanent

Stock registers

Permanent

Stock transactions

Permanent

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Employee Records

Retention Period

Benefit plans

Permanent

Employee files (ex-employees)

7 years
(Or statute of limitations for employee lawsuits)

Employment applications

3 years

Employment taxes

7 years

Payroll records

7 years

Pension/profit sharing plans

Permanent

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Real Property Records

Retention Period

Construction records

Permanent

Leasehold improvements

Permanent

Lease payment records

Life + 4 years

Real estate purchases

Permanent

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