Records retention policy

Document Sample
Records retention policy Powered By Docstoc
					                               RECORDS RETENTION

Inquire if your Broker has an office policy.
You may also want to contact your accountant for guidance

According to the IRS, here’s how long a business should keep those records:

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

Bank statements and cancelled checks
AP & AR documents
Invoices and billing information (customers and vendors)
Contracts with clients and suppliers

Expense reports
Employee agreements/contracts/termination records
Documents related to litigation
Inventory documentation

Employment applications
Employee disability and illness benefit records
Expired insurance policies
General correspondence


Hanging on to every scrap of paper is not just a fire hazard; it can also be an impediment
to heirs or caretakers sorting through your belongings down the road. Financial experts
say people typically save far too much stuff or in some cases far too little. The chart
below tells you how long to save important papers, including wills and insurance
policies, and where to keep them. Finally, make a list of your important papers and their
locations that you or the person you've designated to carry on your affairs can consult for
quick access. Include details about how to find your safe-deposit-box key, the
combination to your home safe, and your computer log-ons and passwords. Give the list
to loved ones and be vigilant about updating it.

It's also a good idea to keep copies of your most important documents in a single location
so they'll be easy to grab in case you need to evacuate your home. Some items to include
in that pile: passports; account numbers for your bank, broker, and utilities and other
bills; family immunization records; Social Security numbers; computer PIN numbers; and
photos of your family and pets for identification.

Document               When to toss                           Where to keep originals
Bank-deposit slips     After you reconcile your statements    Home
Canceled checks        Generally after one year; 7 years for Home
                       checks that support tax filings
Certificates of        After matures                          Home
Check registers        After one year                         Home
Check statements       After one year                         Home
Credit-card            After one year; 7 years if needed to   Home
statements             support tax filings
Loan documents         When repay loan                        Home
Loan-discharge         Never                                  Safe-deposit box
Pay stubs              When you get a new one                 Home
Health-care proxy      When updated                           Safe-deposit box/primary-
                                                              care physician, attorney,
                                                              anyone named to make
                                                              decisions on your behalf
Living trust           When updated                           Safe-deposit box/successor
                                                              trustee, attorney
Living will            When updated                           Safe-deposit box/attorney,
Power of attorney      When updated                           Safe-deposit box/designee,
Will                 When updated                           Safe-deposit box/attorney,
Annually renewed     After renewal                          Home
insurance policies
Insurance inventory When updated                            Safe-deposit box
Permanent life       Never                                  Safe-deposit box
(whole life, etc.)
Term life            After the term expires                 Safe-deposit box
Brokerage            Hold until you sell the securities,    Home
statements           then hold with your tax return for 7
Purchase             Hold until securities are sold, then   Home
confirmations and    put with your tax returns.
Savings bonds        When matures                           Best to convert to electronic
                                                            bonds at the U.S. Treasury.
                                                            Otherwise, place in safe-
                                                            deposit box, keeping a list of
                                                            serial numbers at home.
Stock certificates   Should not be held                     Transfer paper certificates to
                                                            a brokerage account; consult
                                                            your financial adviser.
Birth certificate    Never                                  Safe-deposit box
Death certificates   Never                                  Safe-deposit box
Marriage license     Never                                  Safe-deposit box
Military-discharge   Never                                  Safe-deposit box
Social Security card Never                                  Safe-deposit box
Car title            When you sell your vehicle             Safe-deposit box
Receipts             When warranty expires; after 7         Home
                     years to support tax returns
Warranties           When expires                           Home
Employer defined-       Never                               Home
benefit plan
401(k) statements       When you get a new one              Home
Social Security         When you get a new one              Home
Personal state and     After 7 years                         Home
federal tax returns
and supporting
  Note: For documents in a safe-deposit box, it's a good idea to keep copies
  at home as well.