Record Retention Guide

Clients are always calling our office asking how long we recommend they keep their financial records. Keeping good personal and business records is helpful for many reasons besides just taxes, such as when trying to obtain a new loan, for medical reasons or just for being organized. So today after Jim spoke to another client about how long they should keep certain records, we decided we should offer some advice on here for your convenience. As you read through the information below please note that while the IRS does not require you to keep tax records forever, there will be other reasons you’ll want to retain some documents indefinitely.

Individuals

Accident Reports & Claims – 6 Years
Alimony, Custody, Prenuptial Agreements – Permanently
Bank Statements – 3 Years
Birth & Death Certificates – Permanently
Canceled Checks – 3 Years
Certificates of Deposit Statements – 7 Years
Charitable Contributions – Keep with Tax Return
Employee Business Expense Report – Keep with Tax Returns
Forms 1099 Received – 7 Years
Forms W2 Received – Permanently
House Records (Mortgage & Repairs) – Permanently
Income Tax Return Record – Permanently
Insurance Policies – Keep Until Expiration
Investment Trade Authorizations – Permanently
List of Financial Assets – Permanently
Major Purchase Receipts – 7 Years
Medical Records – 7 Years
Retirement & Pension Records – Permanently
Wills & Trusts – Permanently

Businesses

Accident Reports & Claims – Permanently
Accounts Payable – Ledgers & Schedules – 7 Years
Accounts Receivable – Ledgers & Schedules – 7 Years
Audit Reports from CPA/Accountant – Permanently
Bank Reconciliations – 7 Years
Capital Stock & Bond Records – Permanently
Cash Books – Permanently
Checks & Cancelled Checks – Permanently
Contracts & Leases – 7 Years (After Expired)
Deeds, Mortgages, Bills of Sale – Permanently
Depreciation Schedules – 7 Years
Employee Time Cards & Expense Reports – 7 Years (After Termination)
Financial Statements – Permanently
Insurance Policies – 7 Years (After Expired)
Inventory Records – 7 Years
Invoices – 7 Years
Patent/Trademark Paperwork – Permanently
Personnel Records – Permanently
Tax Returns & Worksheets – Permanently
*DISCLAIMER – The suggested periods are just suggestions; they have no legal authority and are simply guidelines for your use in organizing and retaining your records.

About the Author

Toni is Filak CPA’s Office Manager who manages day-to-day operations of the firm & keeps the office running smoothly. She prepares payroll and performs monthly accounting services for our clients. She also handles the billing and accounts receivable for our firm.
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