This month Joel Lee, CPA, discusses record retention that will help you when preparing for your tax returns this year and in the future.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has developed and distributed a detailed guide for record retention. I have included below selections that may be of particular interest to housing cooperatives and condominiums and their residents. I also recommend scanning and storing indicated documents digitally in a safe electronic storage medium, i.e. external hard drive and or cloud storage.

Keep Permanently

  • Appraisals by outside appraisers
  • Audit reports
  • Blueprints and plans
  • Bylaws
  • Capital stock and bonds records
  • Cash books
  • Charter
  • Charts of accounts
  • Cancelled checks for
    • important payments
    • taxes, special contracts (* file with papers for the transaction)
  • Contracts, mortgages, leases in effect
  • Correspondence on legal matters
  • Deeds, mortgages, bills of sale
  • Depreciation schedules
  • Year end financial statements
  • General ledgers, year-end trial balance
  • Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies
  • Journals
  • Minute books of directors, stockholders
  • Retirement and pension records
  • Tax returns and related worksheets
  • Training manuals
  • Union agreements
  • Vouchers/payment to employees, vendors

Keep for 7 Years

  • Accident reports/claims (settled cases)
  • Accounts payable ledgers and schedules
  • Cancelled checks (see exceptions at left)
  • Expense analyses/expense distributions
  • Expired contracts, mortgages, leases
  • Garnishments
  • Inventories of products, materials, supplies
  • Invoices
  • Notes receivable ledgers and schedules
  • Option records (expired)
  • Payroll records and summaries
  • Personnel files (terminated)
  • Purchase orders
  • Stock and Bond certificates (cancelled)
  • Subsidiary ledgers
  • Time books/cards
  • Voucher registers and schedules
  • Withholding tax schedules

Keep for 3 Years

  • Bank statements
  • Employment applications
  • Insurance policies (expired)
  • Internal audit reports
  • Internal reports (miscellaneous)
  • Petty cash vouchers
  • Sales commission reports

Keep for 2 Years

  • Bank reconciliations
  • General correspondence
  • Duplicate deposit slips

Keep for 1 Year

  • Magnetic tape and tab cards
  • Purchase orders
  • Requisitions
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