How long should you keep important records and documents?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAsWe are all guilty of it- we don’t take the time to review all of our important records on a regular basis. Before we know it we have file folders stuffed to the brim with documents from many years ago. Piles cover our desks and filing cabinets comprised of papers we are hanging onto because we aren’t sure how long we should keep them. When it comes to business and personal accounting records, there is a method to the madness.  I will lay out some general guidelines below to hopefully help you keep legal and tax problems at bay. Type of record                                                               Retention periodAccounts payable ledgers and schedules                         7 yearsAccounts receivable ledgers and schedules                    7 yearsAuditors’ report                                                                 PermanentlyBank reconciliations/statements                                   2-3 yearsCash disbursements                                                          PermanentlyCash receipts journal                                                        PermanentlyFinancial statements                                                        PermanentlyFixed asset records                                                           PermanentlyEmployment applications                                               3 yearsInsurance policies (expired)                                            3 yearsInsurance records, current accident reports               PermanentlyInventory listings and tags                                              7 yearsInvoices (to customers, from vendors)                         7 yearsPayroll records and summaries                                         7 yearsPersonnel files (terminated)                                          7 yearsStocks and bonds certificates (canceled)                         7 yearsTax returns and worksheets, revenue agents’reports, other documents relating todetermination of income tax liability                          PermanentlyTime books/cards                                                              7 yearsTraining manuals                                                               Permanently Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves. You can reach Brian through or at

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