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Record Retention

These retention schedules will help you keep track of when to destroy your tax and other personal records.

We hope you find this handy guide useful. If you have questions, or if we can assist you with any of your tax concerns, please contact us.


Record Retention Guide for Businesses

In business, good record keeping 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 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 Life of assets plus 7 years
Expense records 7 years
Financial statements (annual) Permanent
Fixed asset purchases Permanent
General ledger Life of business plus 7 years
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



Corporate Records

Retention Period

Board minutes Life of company plus 7 years
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

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



Real Property Records

Retention Period

Construction records Permanent
Leasehold improvements Permanent
Lease payment records Life + 4 years
Real estate purchases Ownership period plus 7 years



Record Retention Guide for Individuals

Good recordkeeping can cut your taxes and make your financial life easier.

How long to keep records is a combination of judgment and state and federal statutes of limitations. Since federal tax returns can generally be audited for up to three years after filing and up to six years if the IRS suspects underreported income, it’s wise to keep tax records at least seven years after a return is filed. Requirements for records kept electronically are the same as for paper records.

Generally, follow these recommended retention periods for various documents:


Retention Period

Tax returns (uncomplicated) 7 years
Tax returns (all others) Permanent
W-2s 7 years
1099s 7 years
Cancelled or substitute checks
supporting tax deductions
7 years
Bank deposit slips 7 years
Bank statements 7 years
Charitable contribution documentation 7 years
Credit card statements 7 years
Receipts, diaries, logs pertaining to tax returns 7 years
Investment purchase and sales slips Ownership period + 7 years
Dividend reinvestment records Ownership period + 7 years
Year-end brokerage statements Ownership period + 7 years
Mutual fund annual statements Ownership period + 7 years
Investment property purchase documents Ownership period + 7 years
Home purchase documents Ownership period + 7 years
Home improvement receipts and cancelled checks Ownership period + 7 years
Home repair receipts and cancelled checks Warranty period for item
Retirement plan annual reports Permanent
IRA annual reports Permanent
IRA nondeductible contributions (Form 8606) Permanent
Insurance policies Life of policy + 3 years
(Check with your agent. Liability for prior years can vary.)
Divorce documents Permanent
Loans Term of loan + 7 years
Estate planning documents Permanent