In the course of your professional and personal life, you have collected many documents. Your first thought is to clear up some of the clutter and throw everything out….but wait; those documents you’re about to throw away might actually need to be retained for a specific period of time! We often get asked by clients how long they should keep their tax returns and the related records, along with many other important documents. In order to assist in determining the length of time you should keep different types of documents we have included below a brief list of key documents. Please note that the periods of time are not specific to paper or digital copies of records. Generally it is a good idea to keep your files digitally (this saves you room in file cabinets), however it is always a good idea to make sure those files are backed up. The Retention is in Years and P = Permanent.

Document TypeSuggested Retention
Employment Applications3
Insurance Policies (expired)3
FUTA/FICA/Income Tax Withholding4
Inventory Reports4
Payroll Tax Returns4
Sales Tax Returns4
Insurance Appraisals6
Commission Reports – Salesperson6
Accounts Receivable/Payable Ledger7
Accounts Receivable Aging Reports7
Accounts Receivable Invoices7
Accounts Written-off7
Bank Statements7
Cash Sales Slips7
Charge Slips7
Expense Reports7
Petty Cash Records7
Purchase Order7
Vendor Invoices7
Withholding Tax Statements7
Voucher Check Copies7
Contributions7
Checks – Payroll7
338 Election7
Medical Receipts7
Forms 1099 Received7
401 K/Keogh Statements7
Loan Records / Forms 10987
Annuity Year End Statements7
Insurance Policies – Other7
Major Purchase Receipts7
Year-end Brok.  Stmnts/Trade Confirms7
Certificates of Deposit Statements7
Schedule K-1’s7
IRA Statements (deduct. & nondeductible)7
Salary History8
Leases/Canceled10
Employee Withholding Exemption Certif.10
Balance SheetsP
Cash Disbursement & Receipt RecordP
Financial StatementsP
Partnership AgreementP
Depreciation ScheduleP
Property AppraisalsP
Business PermitsP
Contracts – EmployeesP
CopyrightsP
Deeds/TitlesP
Insurance Records, Accident Rpts, ClaimsP
LicensesP
MortgagesP
PatentsP
Stock and Bond RecordP
W-2 FormsP
Tax Free ReorganizationP
Canceled Checks – Tax PaymentsP
Depreciation SchedulesP
Income Tax ReturnsP
Tax Return CopiesP
Forms W2 ReceivedP
Insurance Policies – LifeP
House RecordsP
Medical RecordsP
WillsP
Trust AgreementsP
Detailed List of Financial Assets HeldP
Military PapersP