Record retention guide

File Cabinet

Filing your tax papers away can be a chore. Perhaps you need to make a clean sweep of the file cabinet.

The IRS advises that you keep your tax returns forever, but much of the supporting documentation can be destroyed after the statute of limitations for the tax year is over (three years in most cases). You can use the following guide to help make your decision.


Copies (misc.)
Correspondence (routine)
Duplicate deposit slips
Stenographer’s notebooks


Appointment books
Correspondence (general)
Employee personnel records (after termination)
Insurance policies (expired)
Internal reports (misc.)
Petty cash vouchers


Loan documents
Notes receivable ledgers and sched-ules
Purchase orders


Accident reports and claims (settled)
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules
Bank statements
Brokerage statements
Cancelled checks (misc.)
Employee expense reports
Employee payroll records
Inventory of products, materials and supplies
Safety records
Sales records
Scrap and salvage records
Stock and bond certificates (cancelled)
Subsidiary ledgers
Time cards and daily reports
Voucher register and schedules
Voucher for payments made


Adoption papers
Articles of incorporation
Audit reports of accountants
Birth certificates
Capital stock and bond records
Cancelled checks (important pay-ments)
Cash books
Charts of accounts
Citizenship papers
Contracts and leases (expired)
Contracts and leases (existing)
Copyright, patent and trademark registration
Death certificates
Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale
Depreciation schedules
Divorce decrees, alimony and child custody agreements
Financial statements
General and private ledgers

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