Record Retention Guidelines for Corporations & Individuals

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Record Retention Guidelines for Corporations & Individuals

DMJ has compiled a list of helpful financial resources, related documents, and relevant links.

What You Should Keep

For additional information about record retention, please speak with a tax accountant.

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Accounting Records

Accountant’s reportsPermanently
Bank statements, deposit slips5 years
Cash receipt books or vouchers7 years
Checks (payroll and general)7 years
Check registers7 years
Daily logs (journals of receipts and charges)7 years
Expense reports7 years
Financial statements (year-end)Permanently
General ledgers and journalsPermanently
Internal audit reports4 years
Payment vouchers7 years
Petty cash vouchers4 years
Uncollectible accounts4 years

Corporation Capital Records

Capital stock, bond and proxy recordsPermanently
Deeds and easementsPermanently
Dividends paidPermanently
Expired mortgages, notes, and leases8 years
General and labor contractsPermanently
Minute books for Directors and/or StockholdersPermanently
Bylaws and CharterPermanently
Stock redemptionsPermanently


General correspondence4 years
Legal and tax mattersPermanently

Employee Records

Employee I-9 forms*4 years
Employee personnel records
(after termination)
4 years
Employment applications for non hires4 years
OSHA medical records*30 years
plus term of employment
OSHA training records4 years
from training date
Policy manual (after revision)4 years
Vacations and other absences4 years


Accident and fire inspection reports7 years
Claims after settlement7 years
Expired policies7 years
Group disability records7 years
Malpractice insurance policiesPermanently

Personal Records

Bank statements7 years
Birth certificatesPermanently
Canceled checks (generally)7 years
Cancelled checks
(for important payments, i.e. taxes, purchases
of property, special contracts, etc. )
Closing statements, purchase and sales invoices, proof of payment insurance records and Form 21197 years
Contracts, mortgages, notes, leases
7 years
Contracts, mortgages, notes, leases
(still in effect)
(legal and important matters)
Credit card statements7 years
Custody agreementsPermanently
Death certificatesPermanently
Deeds, mortgages, bills of salePermanently
Divorce papersPermanently
Employment taxes for household employees (records and returns)Permanently
Form K-1 from partnerships, trusts and S corporations7 years
Home and home improvementsPermanently
Investment records:
Option records (expired)
Stock and Bond certificates (canceled)
7 years
Insurance records, open or unresolved accident reports, claims, policies, etc.Permanently
IRA contributions (all)Permanently
Investment records:
Brokerage statements, mutual fund statements and Form(s) 1099
Marriage certificatePermanently
Property appraisals by outside appraisers – Retirement and pension records, including Form(s) 1099Permanently
Tax returns, forms W-2 and worksheets
IRA contributions (all) revenue agents report and other- Investment records: documents relating to determination of Brokerage statements, mutual fund income tax liability
7 years

Purchasing, Sales and Receiving

Inventory records7 years
Purchase orders and requisitions4 years
Sales contracts and invoices4 years

Tax Records

Depreciation schedulesPermanently
Excise tax returns and supporting infoPermanently
Income tax returns and supporting infoPermanently

* Age of majority is 18 years of age in North Carolina. The statutes run for three years past majority.

* OSHA medical records and I-9 forms should be kept separate from employee’s personnel file.

In order to preserve confidentiality when discarding old records, all documents should be destroyed. This guide is for original records.

Computerized Records

Records must be maintained in a retrievable format according to these time guidelines. Additionally, documentation describing the application, procedures, and controls utilized, as well as the detail information for the records, must be available.

Loss or Destruction of Records

To safeguard your records against loss from theft, fire or other disaster, you should consider keeping your most important records in a safe deposit box or other safe place outside your home. In addition, consider keeping copies of the most important records in a single, easily accessible location so that you can grab them if you have to leave your home in an emergency.

North Carolina Escheats and Abandoned Property Law

Unclaimed tangible and intangible property must be forwarded to the state after being dormant for 1 to 10 years depending upon the nature of the property.

This publication is intended to provide accurate and factual information on the issues covered. These general guidelines are based on information from the Internal Revenue Service and other federal and state agencies, as well as the rules `followed by many businesses. These are only guidelines; therefore, judgment must be used. Voluminous and bulky business records should be destroyed as soon as they have outlived their usefulness, usually after 4 years.

The firm, its employees, and staff make no representation guarantee or warranty, express or implied, that this compilation is error-free or that the use of this directory will prevent differences of opinion or disputes, and assumes no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. The contents of this publication may be subject to change.