Whited Seigneur Sams & Rahe CPAs

Accounting Record Retention

How long do you have to hold onto those accounting records? We have provided you with a list of records and the number of years you should keep the accounting records. These record retention guidelines provide a general guideline for the retention of many records, but the specific holding periods for any record retention policy should be given careful scrutiny by management and legal advisors in light of any pending investigators, regulated industry requirements or contract covenants.

Accident reports and claims
(settled cases)
7 yrs Invoices to customers 7 yrs
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules 7 yrs Invoices from vendors 7 yrs
Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules 7 yrs Journals Permanently
Audit reports of accountants Permanently Minute books of directors and stockholders, including by-laws and charter Permanently
Bank reconciliations 4 yrs Notes receivable ledgers and schedules 7 yrs
Capital stock and bond records; ledgers, transfer registers, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupons, options, etc. Permanently Option records (expired) 7 yrs
Checks (cancelled but see exception below) 7 yrs Petty cash vouchers 3 yrs
Checks (cancelled for important payments, i.e., taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc. (checks should be filed with the papers pertaining to the underlying transactions)) Permanently Physical inventory tags 3 yrs
Contracts and leases (expired) 7 yrs Plant cost ledgers 7 yrs
Contracts and leases still in effect Permanently Property appraisals by outside appraisers Permanently
Correspondence (routine) with customers or vendors 1 yr Property records - including costs, depreciations reserves, end of year trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints and plans Permanently
Correspondence (general) 3 yrs Purchase orders (except purchasing department copy) 1 yr
Correspondence (legal and important matters only) Permanently Purchase orders (purchasing department copy) 7 yrs
Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale Permanently Receiving sheets 1 yr
Depreciation schedules Permanently Requisitions 1 yr
Duplicate deposit slips 3 yrs Sales records 7 yrs
Employee personnel records (after terminations) 3 yrs Savings bond registrations records of employees 3 yrs
Employment applications 3 yrs Scrap and salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.) 7 yrs
Expense analyses and expense distribution schedules 7 yrs Stenographer's notebooks 1 yr
Financial statements (end of year, other months optional) Permanently Stock and bond certificates (cancelled) 7 yrs
General and private ledgers (and end of year trial balances) Permanently Stockroom withdrawal forms 1 yr
Insurance policies (expired) 3 yrs Subsidiary ledgers 7 yrs
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc Permanently Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agents' reports and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability Permanently
Internal audit reports (in some situations, longer retention periods may be desirable) 3 yrs Time books 7 yrs
Internal reports (miscellaneous) 3 yrs Trade mark registrations Permanently
Inventories of products, materials, and supplies 7 yrs Voucher registrer and schedules 7 yrs
    Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, etc. (includes allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers, etc. for travel and entertainment expenses) 7 yrs


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