Record Retention Schedule

One of our most popular resources is our record retention schedule.  This handy list provides guidelines on how long to keep important files.

We recommend that you consult your attorney or accountant before relying on this document.

Retention Period
Accident reports/claims (settled cases) 7 years
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules 7 years
Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules 7 years
Audit reports Permanently
Bank reconciliations 2 years
Bank statements 3 years
Capital stock and bond records;ledgers, transfer registers, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupons, options, etc. Permanently
Bankruptcy petition and discharge Permanently
Cash books Permanently
Chart of accounts Permanently
Checks (canceled-see exemption below) 7 years
Checks (canceled for important payments, I.e. taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc. Checks should be filled with the papers pertaining to the underlying (transactions) Permanently
Contracts, mortgages, notes, and leases (expired) 7 years
Contracts, mortgages, notes, and leases (still in effect) Permanently
Correspondence (general) 2 years
Correspondence (legal and important matters only) Permanently
Correspondence (routine) with customers and/or vendors 2 years
Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale Permanently
Depreciation schedules Permanently
Duplicate deposit slips 2 years
Employment applications 3 years
Expense analysis / expense distribution schedules 7 years
Final account statements Permanently
Financial statements (year-end, other optional) Permanently
Garnishments 7 years
General/private ledgers, year-end trail balance Permanently
Home improvement receipts Until sale of home
Insurance policies (expired) 3 years
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc. Permanently
Internal audit reports (longer retention periods may be desirable) 3 years
Internal reports (miscellaneous) 3 years
Inventories of products, materials, and supplies 7 years
Invoices (to customers, from vendors) 7 years
Journals Permanently
Magnetic tape and tab cards 1 year
New-car sticker, original paperwork and repair receipts Life of the car
Notes receivable ledgers, and schedules 7 years
Option records (expired) 7 years
Patents and related papers Permanently
Payroll records and summaries 7 years
Personnel files (terminated) 7 years
Petty cash vouchers 3 years
Physical inventory tags 3 years
Plant cost ledgers 7 years
Property appraisals by outside appraisers Permanently
Property records, including costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints, and plans Permanently
Purchase orders (except purchasing department copy) 1 year
Purchase orders (purchasing department copy) 7 years
Receiving sheets 1 year
Retirement and pension records Permanently
Requisitions 1 year
Sales commission reports 3 years
Sales records 7 years
Scrap and salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.) 7 years
Stenographer’s notebooks 1 year
Stock and bond certificates (canceled) 7 years
Stockroom withdrawal forms 1 year
Subsidiary ledgers 7 years
Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agents’ reports, and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability Permanently
Tax return supporting documents 7 years
Time books/cards 7 years
Trademark and copyrights registrations Permanently
Training manuals Permanently
Union agreements Permanently
Vouchers register and schedules 7 years
Vouchers for payment to vendors, employees, etc. (including allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers,etc., for travel and entertainment expenses) 7 years
Withholding tax statements 7 years


Chaos to Order does not represent the accuracy or reliability of the information provided. Consult with your attorney or accountant to determine what is appropriate for you.

You acknowledge and agree that any reliance upon the information contained in this document shall be at your sole risk.