How long must we retain documents before they can be shredded?

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2016-06-20 13:01

Good Question! Documents which have outlived their practical and legal usefulness should be properly destroyed. Adherence to a predetermined retention schedule is a sound business practice which reduces risks of litigation and audit. We have a nice reference on document retention here.


document destruction

Document Retention Schedule

One Year:

  • Correspondence of unimportant nature with customers or vendors
  • Purchase orders (except purchasing department copies)
  • Receiving sheets
  • Requisitions
  • Stenographers' notebooks
  • Stockroom withdrawal forms 

Seven Years:

  • Accident reports
  • Accounts receivable ledgers and related trial balances
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Bank statements
  • Canceled checks (see exception under permanent records)
  • Contracts and leases expired
  • Duplicate deposit slips
  • Expense analyses and expense distribution schedules
  • Garnishments
  • Inventory summaries of product, materials and supplies
  • Invoices to customers and from vendors Journal vouchers
  • Notes receivable ledgers and related trial balances
  • Payroll records and summaries, including payments to pensioners
  • Personnel files (terminated)
  • Purchase orders (purchasing department copies)
  • Sales records Scrap salvage records -
  • Inventories, sales, etc. Subsidiary ledgers to the general ledger and related trial balances
  • Time books
  • Voucher register and related trial balances 



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