It is important for both businesses and individuals to keep records in order to perform accounting activities. This time of year, as you are going through all of your records you might be thinking “how long do I have to keep these for?”  If you want to spring clean your financial records this tax season, take a look at common record retention guidelines. The record retention guidelines below provide general guidelines for the retention of many types of records. Specific retention periods should take into account industry requirements and contractual obligations. Please contact us with any specific records retention questions at 315.424.1120 or


Divorce documents Permanent
Estate planning documents Permanent
Home improvement receipts Ownership period + 7 years
Home purchase documents Ownership period + 7 years
Income tax returns and all supporting documents 7 years
Insurance policies Life of policy + 3 years
Loan documents Term of loan + 7 years
Retirement plan annual reports Permanent


Accounts payable 7 years
Accounts receivable 7 years
Audit reports Permanent
Chart of accounts Permanent
Depreciation schedules Permanent
Expense records 7 years
Financial statements (annual Permanent
Fixed asset purchases Permanent
General ledger Permanent
Inventory records 7 years (permanent for LIFO system)
Loan payment schedules 7 years
Purchase orders 7 years
Sales records 7 years
Tax returns Permanent


Bank reconciliations 2 years
Bank statements 2 years
Cancelled checks 7 years (permanent for real estate)
Electronic payment records 7 years


Board minutes Permanent
Bank statements Permanent
Business licenses Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Contracts – major Permanent
Contracts – minor Life + 4 years
Insurance policies Life + 3 years (verify with agent)
Leases Permanent
Mortgages Permanent
Patents Permanent
Shareholder records Permanent
Stock registers Permanent
Stock transactions Permanent
Trademarks Permanent


Benefit plans Permanent
Employee files (former employees) 7 years or state statute for lawsuit
Employment applications 3 years
Employment taxes 7 years
Payroll records 7 years


Construction records Permanent
Lease payment records Life + 4 years
Leasehold improvements Permanent
Real estate purchases Permanent

For more information on record retention guidelines, contact Adam E. Panek, CPA, Partner at or 315.701.6328. Grossman St. Amour CPAs PLLC has been in business for over 60 years. As a certified public accounting firm located in central New York, the firm is focused on the quality service standards that are highly regarded in the accounting profession. Grossman St. Amour CPAs provides businesses and individuals with accounting, audit, taxation, business planning and valuation, financial planning, investment consulting, and fraud examination and deterrence services. For more information about how Grossman St. Amour CPAs PLLC can be of service to you, contact, or call 315.701.6350.