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Document Retention Schedule

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Document Retention Schedule

Document Retention Schedule: Depending on the the amount of paperwork you have held on to throughout the years at your home office or at work; you may find satisfaction in starting with what you can toss or shred immediately. Then move on to planning your long term and short-term storage areas and file solutions. Files that are one to two years old should be kept more accessible and files that are 3 years or older can be moved into long-term storage.

By planning storage needs ahead of time, you’ll be able to easily move your bank statements, tax records and other business files into the correct bins, file cabinets and cardboard boxes, depending on the date of the document and the tips below. This is in addition to money savings in storage fees reduction.

Due to the large magnitude of legal requirements, as well as the specific needs of each company, it is advisable to consult legal counsel / CPA before implementing a tailored records retention policy. In addition to these general guidelines, each business should consider any industry standards that may affect the holding period of records due to unusual legal circumstances.

The retention periods below reflect requirements currently in effect. Because record retention periods are constantly changing, it is necessary to evaluate record retention policies and programs periodically.

Accounting Records

Auditors’ report and annual financial statements Permanent
Bank reconciliations 7 years
Bank statements and deposit slips 7 years
Budgets 2 years
Cancelled checks (general, payroll, payroll-related taxes) 7 years
Cancelled checks (fixed assets and income taxes) Permanent
Cash disbursements journal Permanent
Cash receipts journal Permanent
Correspondence 3 years
Currency transactions reports 5 years
Dividend checks Permanent
Employee expense records 7 years
Fixed assets records (invoices, depreciation schedules) Permanent
Financial statements (annual) Permanent
Freight bills 4 years
General ledgers and year-end trail balances Permanent
Inventory records 7 years
Open accounts (MI) 6 years
Petty cash vouchers 4 years
Production and sales reports 7 years
Promissory notes (MI) 6-10 years
Purchase journals Permanent
Purchase orders 7 years
Subsidiary ledgers (accounts receivable, accounts payable, etc.) 7 years

Administrative and Corporate Records

Annual reports 6 years
Articles of incorporation (and any amendments) Permanent
Ballots and proxies 6 years
Buy-sell agreements Permanent
By-laws Permanent
Capitol stock and bond records Permanent
Contracts and leases (after expiration) 7 years
Copyright and trademark records Permanent
Dividend registers Permanent
Government contracts and subcontracts At least 3 years
Insurance records, policies, etc. Permanent
Legal correspondence Permanent
Liquidation of subsidiaries records Permanent
Mergers and combinations records (antitrust) Permanent
Minutes Permanent
Mortgages and notes (after expiration) 6 years
Oral contracts memorandum (MI) 6 years
Patents and patent licenses 26 years
Partnership agreements Permanent
Real estate title documents (MI) 15 years
Reorganization records Permanent
Securities offer or sales records Permanent
Stock certificates and ledgers Permanent
Union (labor) contracts Permanent

Environmental Protection Records

Judicial, administrative and compliance documents Permanent
Permits Permanent
NPDES monitoring records 3 years
RCRA generator’s manifests, biennial reports, test results, waste analyses 3 years
RCRA land ban documents 3 years
Air emissions — renewable operating permit monitoring records 5 years
Air emissions — continuous emissions monitoring system records 2 years
EPCRA — TRI reports/documents 3 years
USTs — sampling, testing and monitoring records 2 years
USTs — tank and piping tightness testing records 5 years
USTs — closure records 3 years
TSCA — PCB generator manifests 3 years
TSCA — PCB spill cleanup records and decontamination certifications 5 years
TSCA — Section 8(a) reports, documents and customer notices/return receipts 3 years

Personnel Records

§6047(b) trust or retirement plan contribution Until distributed
Collective bargaining agreements 6 years
Employment application (from date of termination) 3 years
Employee files (current employees) Permanent
Employee files (after termination) 7 years
Employee manuals/handbooks Permanent
FICA records 4 years
FMLA documents 3 years
Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification (after date of hire) 3 years
H-1B labor conditions application public access file 1 year after expiration
Paychecks, W-2 Forms, W-4 Forms, 1099 Forms 7 years
Payroll records 7 years
Preparer information 3 years
Time cards and daily time reports 4 years
Unemployment insurance (MI) 6 years
Wage and hour records 5 years
Workers’ compensation (MI) 2 years

Employee Benefit Plans

Documents filed subject to Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 5 years
ERISA plan documents 6 years
Pension/profit-sharing informational returns (Form 5500) Permanent
Plan and trust agreements Permanent
IRS approval letter Permanent
Actuarial reports Permanent

Health and Safety Records

Asbestos monitoring/employee exposure measurements At least 30 years
Chemical and toxic exposure records At least 30 years
Employee exposure medical records and workers’ allegations 5 years
Occupational injury/illness records 5 years
Occupational radiation exposure records Authorized by Dept. of Energy

Tax Records

Business income tax 6 years
Cigarette and tobacco tax 4 years
Employment security tax 4 years
Federal income tax 6 years
Financial reports (annual) Permanent
Financial statements 4 years
Payroll tax returns Permanent
Sales and use tax Permanent

Individual Records

Tax returns, W-2, 1099 (after filing) 6 years
Loan records (after payoff) 6 years
Medical bills (after payment) 6 years
Insurance policies (after expiration) 6 years
IRA records (after termination) 6 years
Major purchase receipts 6 years
Schedule K-1 (after disposition of interest) 6 years

I have cumulated a storage room full of documents over the year, I know that the MA laws has change so I know I couldn’t dump them in dumpster I called your company on Saturday morning and I was pleasantly surprised that you answered my call and arranged for pick up on Sunday! The driver was nice and the invoice was exactly what I was quoted. Thank you for making my nightmare go away.

Allen McAllistar Peabody MA

I am writing to thank George for his help last night, I was lost on my way to your Lowell location to drop of my mom’s old records for shredding. George stayed on the phone nad past his closing time to help get me to the store and his directions were right on, where else can you find such service these days. I usually dont write to companies but this time, George deserved my time to recognize what he did for an o’ lady. Please thank him for me. Your service is top notch! Eleanor McDonald Lexington MA

Holly cow! I was pleasantly surprised that my 10 boxes of documents that I brought to you cost me $100.00, that was quite the savings and I am proud to write this email to your senior management to compliment them on job well done, I hope that your company continues to grow and stay away from the corporate greed that is killing our economy. Your company is doing good for a lot of people like me. I am on limited budget and I was quoted $325 to shred the same documents you charged me $100.00 for. You guys are the best shredding service company in Boston Area. Period.  Moira Thompson  Chiropractor Newton MA

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