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Record retention guidelines

How long should an individual or a business keep back-up records and tax returns?

The following summary will help us as a guide line and save valuable space:

For Individuals

Audit reports and audited financials Permanently
Cheques (cancelled, for important payments, i.e., taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc. Permanently
Legal correspondence Permanently
Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale Permanently
Insurance policies, current accident reports, claims, etc. Permanently
Investment account statements Permanently
Property appraisals reports Permanently
Property records, blueprints and plans, deeds, mortgages, remodeling / renovation records   Permanently
Documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates, wills, shares, bond certificates, deeds, passport etc.   Permanently
Advanced medical directives Permanently
Shares and bond certificates (current or cancelled) Permanently
Documents relating to Income tax liability Permanently
Insurance policies (expired) 10 years
Accident reports and claims (settled cases) 7 years
Bank account statements 7 years
Contracts and leases (expired) 7 years
Cheques (cancelled other than mentioned above) 7 years
Sales receipts for major purchases (car, appliances, furniture, etc.) after disposition of the asset 7 years
Bank deposit slips 1 year
Bank reconciliation statements 1 year
Utility bill receipts 1 year

For Business

Audit reports & audited financials Permanently
Cash books Permanently
Charts of accounts Permanently
MOAs, by-laws, minute books Permanently
Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale Permanently
Fixed asset schedule Permanently
Financial statements (end of year, other months optional) Permanently
General and private ledgers Permanently
Journals Permanently
Minute books for Directors and Stockholders, including by-laws and charters Permanently
Property appraisals by outside valuer Permanently
Property records – including cost, depreciation reserves, end-of-year trial balances, depreciation schedules, blue prints and plans   Permanently
Share and bonds certificate (cancelled) Permanently
Tax returns and work sheets, and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability.   Permanently
Trade mark registration and copy rights Permanently
Insurance policy (after expiration) 10 years
Capital stock and bond records, ledgers, transfer registers   7 years
Contracts and leases (after expiration)   7 years
Deposit slips, duplicate deposit slips   7 years
Accident reports and claims (settled cases)   7 years
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules   7 years
Accounts  receivable ledgers and schedules, deposit books and slips, credit files, authorization , collection file   7 years
Expense analysis and expense distribution schedule   7 years
Bank account statements   7 years
Expense reports   7 years
Insurance policy and current accident reports, fire inspection reports, safety reports etc..   7 years
Internal audit reports   7 years
Inventories of products, materials, and supplies   7 years
Invoices to customers   7 years
Invoices from suppliers   7 years
Notes receivable ledgers and schedules   7 years
Personal records: payroll, time reports, contracts, insurance, disability and sick benefits   7 years
Purchase orders   7 years
Sales records and reports, customer correspondence, customer orders   7 years
Scrap and salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.)   7 years
Shipping reports, bills of lading, receiving reports, inspection reports   7 years
Subsidiary ledgers (including A/P and A/R ledgers)   7 years
Voucher registration and schedules   7 years
Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees etc…   7 years
Correspondence (general)   3 years
Employment application of selected employees.   3 years
Internal reports (miscellaneous)   3 years
Petty cash vouchers   3 years
Purchase orders and purchase requisitions, quotation, acknowledgments   3 years
Material Received Notes   3 years
Requisitions   3 years
Bank reconciliation statements   1 year

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