How Long Should You Keep Documents?

record retentionFor some businesses, document retention is necessary to the security of the business. Each organization ought to have a retention policy specifying the life expectancy of their records. A retention period is the measure of time an archive ought to be kept, in both paper and electronic frame. The time span is regularly industry particular and reliant on the archives probability of being utilized for prosecution purposes later on. A few records have a perpetual maintenance period while others have a life expectancy of a couple of months to a couple of decades. Once the retention timeframe is up, the archive ought to be discarded appropriately.

Document Retention Laws

There are different government and state laws in regards to archive maintenance and disposal. In 2002, the Sabarnes-Oxley Act was passed which put numerous confinements on how a business deals with their archives. HIPAA is another government law that directs how medicinal offices are to deal with the wellbeing records of their patients. The larger part of states has laws and prerequisites on record maintenance.

Rules have been set for to what extent diverse archives ought to be held. There are strict maintenance periods each business ought to take after. Here are some broad maintenance periods for normal business records:

Document Type Retention Period (years)
Bank Statements 4
Contracts 6
Employee Payroll Records 6
General Ledger Permanent
Invoices 4
Financial Statements (Interim) 4
Payroll Journal 4
Patents, copyrights, trademarks Permanent
Time Cards 4
Worthless Securities 7

Please be aware that this is just a general rundown. Retention periods may be contingent upon the state and industry your business is in. You should always consult legal guidance before following any of the information given here.

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