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SVA's Record Retention Guide

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Records Retention Guide

Know how long to keep your important documents.

Making decisions on retaining files is not always a simple task. To assist you, the professionals at SVA are providing you with the recommended guidelines for retaining paper and electronic records.

Accounting | Bank | Documentation | Employee | Insurance
Inventory | Stock | Misc | Computerized


Accounts payable ledgers and schedules 7 years
Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules 7 years
Audit reports of accountants Indefinitely
Budgets 3 years
Balance sheets Indefinitely
Cash receipts records 7 years
Charts of accounts Indefinitely
Check register and cash books Indefinitely
Depreciation schedules Indefinitely
Expense analyses and distribution schedules 7 years
Financial statements (end-of-year) Indefinitely
General and private ledgers (end-of-year trial balances) Indefinitely
Internal audit reports 5 years
Internal reports (miscellaneous) 3 years
Invoices from vendors 7 years
Invoices to customers 7 years
Journals Indefinitely
Low-income housing records 7 years
Notes receivable ledger and schedules 7 years
Petty cash vouchers 3 years
Plant cost ledgers 7 years
Purchase orders (except purchasing department copy) 1 year
Purchase orders (purchasing department copy) 7 years
Requisitions 1 year
Sales records 7 years
Sales tax returns 7 years
Subsidiary ledgers 7 years
Tax returns, work papers and revenue agents' reports Indefinitely
Voucher register and schedule 7 years
Vouchers for payments to vendors 7 years


Bank deposits 4 years
Bank reconciliations 3 years
Bank statements 7 years
Canceled checks (daily payments) 7 years
Canceled checks (major payments) Indefinitely
Duplicate deposit slips 2 years


Contracts and leases (expired) 7 years
Contracts and leases (still in effect) Indefinitely
Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale Indefinitely
Inherited property valuations Indefinitely
Partnership agreements Indefinitely
Property appraisals Indefinitely
Property records Indefinitely
Real estate records Indefinitely
Trademark registrations Indefinitely


Employee benefit plan records 7 years
Employee personnel records (after termination) 7 years
Employment applications 3 years
Payroll and payroll tax records 7 years
Retirement and pension records Indefinitely
Savings bond registrations records of employees Indefinitely
Time records 7 years
Vouchers for payments to employees 7 years


Accident reports and claims (completed) 7 years
Insurance policies (expired) 3 years or more
Insurance records, claims, open or unresolved Indefinitely


Inventories of products, materials and supplies 7 years
LIFO inventory detail information Indefinitely
Physical inventory tags 3 years
Receiving sheets 1 year
Scrap and salvage records 7 years
Stockroom withdrawal forms 1 year


Capital stock and bond records Indefinitely
Minute books of directors and stockholders Indefinitely
Option records (expired) 7 years
Stock and bond certificates (canceled) Indefinitely


Correspondence (general) 3 years
Correspondence on legal, tax and major matters Indefinitely
Expense reports 7 years
Articles of incorporation Indefinitely
Licenses and permits Indefinitely
Auto logs 7 years

Computerized Records

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

*This information should be used as a guideline only. The final responsibility for deciding how long to keep records is up to you or the company.

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