What to Keep - Businesses

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A guide to retention of business records


Keep Permanently

  • Audit reports of accountants
  • Canceled checks for important payments
  • Current contracts and leases
  • Correspondence on legal and other important matters
  • Deeds
  • Mortgages and bills of sale
  • Depreciation schedules
  • Year-end financial statements
  • General and private ledgers
  • Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies
  • Minute books of directors' and stockholders' meetings
  • Property appraisals by outside appraisers
  • Property records
  • Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agents' reports and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability
  • Trademark registrations 

Keep Seven Years

  • Accounts payable ledgers and schedules
  • Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules
  • Canceled checks
  • Expired contracts and leases
  • Inventories of products, materials and supplies
  • Invoices to customers
  • Payroll records and summaries, including payments to pensioners
  • Purchasing department copies of purchase orders
  • Sales records
  • Subsidiary ledgers

Keep Three Years

  • General correspondence
  • Employee personnel records (after termination)
  • Employment applications
  • Expired insurance policies
  • Internal reports
  • Physical inventory tags 

Keep One Year

  • Bank reconciliations
  • Correspondence with customers or vendors
  • Duplicate deposit slips
  • Purchase orders (except purchasing department copies)
  • Receiving sheets
  • Requisitions 

This is only a partial list, and should be used for informational purposes only.  Baden, Gage & Schroeder is not liable for any oversight, omission or legal action resulting from the use of this list.