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Do I Really Need to Keep This?

Date: 04/06/2007 | Category: Business | Author: Diana Heeb Bivona

We all seem to collect mounds of paper no matter how paperless we try to go. Trying to decide which documents we should keep and for how long can also prove challenging, particularly when you are looking to unload some of that paper. So what should you keep and for how long?

According to the IRS, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and CCH Tax and Accounting, businesses should:

Keep the following records permanently:

  • general ledgers and journals
  • payroll records, including W-2s, 940s, 941s
  • year-end financial statements
  • tax returns and supporting documents
  • articles of incorporation, bylaws, meeting minutes, etc.
  • retirement plan records
  • mortgages and deeds

Keep for 10 years:

  • bank statements and cancelled checks
  • AP & AR documents
  • invoices and billing information (customers and ventors)
  • leases
  • contracts with clients and suppliers

Keep for 7 years:

  • expense reports
  • employee agreements/contracts/termination records
  • documents related to litigation
  • inventory documentation

Keep for 3 years:

  • employment applications
  • employee disability and illness benefit records
  • expired insurance policies
  • general correspondence
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