Record Retention Guidelines for Corporations & Individuals

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

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Record Retention Guidelines for Corporations & Individuals

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

Record Retention for Individuals and Businesses

Proper record retention is essential for both individuals and businesses, but it can be challenging to determine exactly which records to keep and for how long to keep them. Poor accounting records retention can lead to the loss of crucial data and information, legal trouble, and succession planning problems, among other issues.

To help simplify the process of record retention, DMJ has prepared this essential guide that answers the question – what to keep and for how long?

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

To view the PDF version on this page, please click here.

Accounting Records

Accountant’s reports Permanently
Bank statements, deposit slips 5 years
Cash receipt books or vouchers 7 years
Checks (payroll and general) 7 years
Check registers 7 years
Daily logs (journals of receipts and charges) 7 years
Expense reports 7 years
Financial statements (year-end) Permanently
General ledgers and journals Permanently
Internal audit reports 4 years
Payment vouchers 7 years
Petty cash vouchers 4 years
Uncollectible accounts 4 years

Corporation Capital Records

Capital stock, bond and proxy records Permanently
Deeds and easements Permanently
Dividends paid Permanently
Expired mortgages, notes, and leases 8 years
General and labor contracts Permanently
Minute books for Directors and/or Stockholders Permanently
Bylaws and Charter Permanently
Stock redemptions Permanently

Correspondence

General correspondence 4 years
Legal and tax matters Permanently

Employee Records

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

Insurance

Accident and fire inspection reports 7 years
Claims after settlement 7 years
Expired policies 7 years
Group disability records 7 years
Malpractice insurance policies Permanently

Personal Records

Bank statements 7 years
Birth certificates Permanently
Canceled checks (generally) 7 years
Cancelled checks
(for important payments, i.e. taxes, purchases
of property, special contracts, etc. )
Permanently
Closing statements, purchase and sales invoices, proof of payment insurance records and Form 2119 7 years
Contracts, mortgages, notes, leases
(Expired)
7 years
Contracts, mortgages, notes, leases
(still in effect)
Permanently
Correspondence
(legal and important matters)
Permanently
Credit card statements 7 years
Custody agreements Permanently
Death certificates Permanently
Deeds, mortgages, bills of sale Permanently
Divorce papers Permanently
Employment taxes for household employees (records and returns) Permanently
Form K-1 from partnerships, trusts and S corporations 7 years
Home and home improvements Permanently
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
Permanently
Marriage certificate Permanently
Property appraisals by outside appraisers – Retirement and pension records, including Form(s) 1099 Permanently
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 records 7 years
Purchase orders and requisitions 4 years
Sales contracts and invoices 4 years

Tax Records

Depreciation schedules Permanently
Excise tax returns and supporting info Permanently
Income tax returns and supporting info Permanently

* 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 Record Retention

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 detailed 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 quickly 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).

Disclaimer

This page and the guidelines within it are intended to provide accurate and factual information about record retention. 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 general guidelines for accounting records retention; therefore, judgment must be used when conducting your own accounting records retention. We recommend that voluminous and bulky business records be destroyed as soon as they have outlived their usefulness (usually after 4 years).

DMJ & Co., PLLC and its staff make no representation of guarantee or warranty, expressly or implied, that this compilation is error-free or that the use of this directory will prevent differences of opinion or disputes. We assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. The contents of this publication may be subject to change.

Consult With DMJ to Develop the Right Accounting Record Retention Plan

Our record retention guidelines provide a general idea about the most common personal and corporate record retention periods. But every individual and business has unique record-keeping requirements. To develop an appropriate accounting records retention plan for your individual or business needs, you must consult with tax advisors.

Contact us now to learn how DMJ’s tax accounting consultants can help you develop the right record retention plan for your needs.