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Our Basic Document Retention Schedule To Help You With Your Legal Requirements

The Retention Schedule was determined by a nationwide survey of record retention schedules recommended by leading authorities on records storage and by the practices of businesses with established procedures. This schedule reflects standard business practices.

A word of caution: Although much study has gone into the preparation of this schedule, the retention periods shown are not offered as final authority, but as guideposts against which to check your company needs. Statutes of limitations for your state, as well as regulations of government agencies pertaining to your business must be considered. Because state retention statutes vary widely on tax, unemployment, and workers' compensation records, check with your CPA or attorney to approve your records retention timetable in its final form. Also, there may be very good reasons to keep records longer than legally required, for historical reference perhaps.

Since the U.S. Government Printing Office is no longer offering this publication on-line please use the following links for further assistance:

United States Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents

National Archives and Records Administration

Aloha Copy is not affiliated with and does not endorse any of the information found on these sites, they are provided for your convenience only. e-mail us at with any HELPFUL Links that you might find, it would be much appreciated.

.Use These Links To Find Your Area Of Interest

Accounting and Fiscal










Plant and Property



Sales and Marketing




Schedule Key

"P" means Permanently, otherwise the figures represent the suggested number of years for retaining the records.


Accounting and Fiscal
Accounts, charged off 7 Cash sales slips 3 Financial statements, certified P
Accounts payable ledger P Cash slips 3 Financial statements, periodic P
Accounts receivable 10 Charge slips 10 Fixed capital records P
Accounts receivable ledger 10 Check records 7 General cash book 2
Balance Sheets 5 Check register 10 General journal P
Bank deposit record 6 Checks, dividend 10 General journal support papers P
Bank reconcilement papers 8 Checks, expense 10 General ledger P
Bank statements 8 Checks, paid & canceled 9 Notes, canceled 10
Bills collectible 7 Checks, payroll 7 Note ledger P
Bills of sale of registered bonds 3 Checks, voucher 6 Payroll register 7
Bill stubs 7 Checks, warrants P Petty cash records 3
Bonds canceled 3 Correspondence, accounting 5 Plant ledger P
Bonds registered P Correspondence, credit & collection 7 Profit and loss statements P
Bonds, sales of transfer 15 Cost account records 7 Property asset summary 10
Budget work sheets 3 Customer ledger P Royalty ledger P
Building permits 20 Donations 7 Salesman commission reports 3
Capital stock bills of sales P Drafts paid 8 Stock ledger P
Capital stock certificates P Earnings register 3 Tabulating cards, magnetic tape 1
Capital stock ledger P Entertainment, gifts & gratuities 3 Traveling auditor reports 15
Capital stock transfer records P Estimates, projections 7 Trial balance, accounts receivable 3
Cash books 25 Expense reports, departmental 7 Trial balance sheets P
Cash receipts & disbursement records 10 Expense reports, employees 7 Un-collectible accounts 7
        Work papers, rough 2

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Audit reports, internal 10 Correspondence, general 3 Inventory cards 3
Audit reports, public & government P Correspondence, personal 6 Inventory, plan records P
Audit work papers, internal 6 Correspondence, production 2 Organized charts P
Classified documents control, inventories, reports 5 Correspondence, purchase 5 Requisitions 3
Correspondence, accounting 5 Correspondence, sales & service 1 Research reports 20
Correspondence, advertising 3 Correspondence, tax 15 System & procedure records P
Correspondence, credit &collection 7 Correspondence, traffic 6 Telegram & cable copies 3
Correspondence, engineering & Technical 10 Forms control 5 Telephone records P

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Activity reports, media schedules 5 Drawings & artwork P Market data & surveys 5
Contracts 10 Estimates 2 Samples, displays, labels, etc. P
Contracts, advertising 7 House organs P Tear sheets 3
Correspondence 5        

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Annual reports P Contracts, vendor 10 Reports to Securities & Exchange Commission P
Authority to issue securities P Dividend checks 10 Securities: documents of issuance, listing & registration P
Authorization & appropriations for expenditures 6 Dividend register P Stock applications for issuance P
Bonds, surety 10 Easements P Stock certificates, canceled 10
Capital stock certificates P Election ballots 20 Stock, stock transfer &
stockholders records
Capital stock ledger P Election records, corporate 10 Stockholders minute books, resolutions P
Capital stock transfer records P General cashbooks, treasurers and auditors' 25 Stockholder proxies 10
Charters, constitution, bylaws & amendments P Incorporation records & certificates P Stockholder reports P
Contracts, employee P Licenses - federal, state, local P Voter proxies 15
Contracts, government P Permits to do business P    
Contracts, labor union P Records of mergers, consolidations, acquisitions, dissolution's, reorganizations P    

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Correspondence 2 Projects, ideas, notes P Speeches, publications 10
Policy statements, directives P Research reports 20    

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Accident reports 11 Expired policy, accident 7 Expired policy, life 7
Appraisals P Expired policy, fidelity 7 Expired policy, marine 7
Claims, automobile 10 Expired policy, fire 6 Expired policy, property 8
Claims, group life & hospital 4 Expired policy, group 7 Expired policy surety 10
Claims, loss or damage in transit 7 Expired policy, hospital 6 Expired policy workmen's compensation 30
Claims, plant P Expired policy, inspection certificates 7    
Claims, workmen's compensation 10 Expired policy, liability 7    

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Affidavits 10 Copyrights P Trademarks P
Charters P Mortgages P    
Claims & litigation of torts & breach of contract P Patents & related data P    

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Authorities for sale of scrap 3 Inspection records 5 Production reports 6
Bills of material 5 Inventory records 16 Quality control reports 5
Blueprints 30 Invoice copies 7 Receipts, delivery 3
Correspondence, technical 10 Invoices, received 7 Reliability records P
Correspondence, production 2 Job records 10 Specifications, customer P
Credit memoranda 5 Journals P Stores' issue records 3
Credit ratings & classifications 2 Ledgers P Time & motion studies P
Drafting records 8 Operating reports 10 Tool control 5
Drawings & tracings, original P Order register 6 Work orders 5

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Accident reports, injury claims, settlements 11 File, individual employee, after separation 3 Salary and rate changes 10
Applications, changes & termination's 3 Garnishments 7 Salesmen auto records 2
Attendance records 6 Health & safety bulletins 4 Salesmen performance records P
Clock records 4 Injury frequency charts 10 Salesmen expense accounts 4
Correspondence 6 Insurance records: group, employee 6 Salesmen Performance Records P
Contracts, Employee (after term) 6 Medical folders, employee 30 Timecards 7
Daily time reports 5 Paychecks P Time tickets 7
Disability & sick benefits records 8 Payroll records, after termination P Time tickets, receipts 7
Earnings records P Pension plan P Training manuals P
Employee service records, contracts P Pension plan, applications P Union (collective bargaining) agreements after termination P
Employee Travel 1 Pension plan, claims P Withholding, exemption certificates (after termination) 3
Employee Withholding Certificates 8 Pension plan, correspondence P Workmen's compensation reports 30
Fidelity bonds 3 Ratings cards 5    

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Plant and Property
Appraisals P Leases P Purchase, lease records 1
Damage reports 7 Maintenance & repair, buildings 10 Sales 7
Deeds, titles P Maintenance & repair, machinery 5 Space allocation records 2
Depreciation schedules P Plans & specifications P Taxes P
Inventory records 16 Plant account cards, equipment records, historical folders P Water rights P

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Acknowledgments 3 Exception notices 6 Quotations 3
Bids, awards 3 Orders 7 Receiving reports 6
Contracts 6 Purchase orders 3 Receiving slips 4
Correspondence 5 Purchase requisitions 1 Vendors contracts P

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Sales and Marketing
Claims (loss or damage) 5 Discount rates 5 Market surveys 5
Complaints 5 Guarantees, warrantees 6 Orders acknowledgment 4
Contract progress reports 6 Invoices, copies 6 Orders filled 8
Contracts, customers 6 Invoices received 7 Price lists P
Contracts - representatives, agents, distributors, etc. 6 Mailing & prospect lists 2 Shipping notices & reports 4
Correspondence 3 Market research studies & analysis P Tax-exempt sales 5

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Agent's reports P Employee withholding certificates (after termination) 8 Sales & use P
Annuity or deferred payment plan P Exemption status P Social security P
Correspondence 20 Excise reports 5 Tax bills & statements P
Depreciation schedules 3 Inventory reports 16 Tax returns & working papers P
Dividend register P Real estate 15    

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Aircraft operating & maintenance 10 Freight claims 5 Shipping tickets 6
Bills of lading 3 Leases 6 Title papers P
Delivery reports 3 Manifests 1 Tonnage summaries P
Employee travel 1 Receiving documents 5 Tracer reports P
Export declarations 4 Routing records 1 Vehicle operation & maintenance 4
Freight bills 5 Shipping instructions 6    

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