Records Retention

Clients frequently ask how long they should retain important documents. The schedule below is provided for informational purposes only. Please contact legal counsel for guidelines applicable to your situation.

Taxpayers retaining records using paperless alternatives should refer to the following revenue procedures to ensure that records are acceptable to the IRS. Rev. Proc. 81-46 addresses retaining books and records on microfilm or microfiche (micrography technology). Rev. Proc. 97-22 updates the procedures in Rev. Proc. 81-46 for the advances in retaining records via electronic storage media such as magnetic tape, optical disk, CD-ROM, etc. Rev. Proc. 98-25 provides guidance on retention of automated data process (ADP) files or machine sensible records.

Follow the link below to download the “Guide to Small Business Recordkeeping.”

Type of Record Retention Period
Tax and legal correspondence 7 years after liquidation of entity
Audit reports 7 years after liquidation of entity
General ledger and journals 7 years after liquidation of entity
Financial statements 7 years after liquidation of entity
Contracts and leases 7 years after liquidation of entity
Real estate records 7 years after liquidation of entity
Corporate stock records and minutes 7 years after liquidation of entity
Bank statements and deposit slips 6 years
Sales Records and Journals 6 years
Other records relating to revenue 6 years
Employee expense reports and records relating to travel and entertainment expenses 7 years after liquidation of entity
Canceled checks 3 years
Paid vendor invoices 3 years
Employee payroll expense records 4 years
Inventory records 3 years (longer if you use LIFO)
Depreciation schedules At least tax life of asset plus 3 years
Other capital asset records At least tax life of asset plus 3 years
Other records relating to expenses 3 years
Partnership agreement and amendments Permanently
Operating agreement and amendments (LLC) Permanently