how long to keep business records

It can cause your business to fail and you may even face criminal charges. Keeping good records is very important when you own a small business. Before you toss them, double check to see whether anyone else you do business with might need them. Creditors, business lawyers, and insurance companies all sometimes require you to keep records longer than the IRS does. Digitizing your records is also a great way to avoid accidentally tossing them in a move or an overzealous fit of spring cleaning. Plus, let’s not forget that paper records can fade, and are susceptible to damage.

If you’re concerned about how to protect your assets from nursing home costs, you’re at an advantage if you can plan at least five years out. But there are other things you can do if a nursing home is in your immediate future, too.

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Here are some things to keep in mind when asking how long to keep business records. Generally speaking, you should keep any tax return and supporting documentation until the statute of limitations expires. For most taxpayers, this means keeping records for at least three years.

CFTC Orders 11 Financial Institutions to Pay Over $710 Million for Recordkeeping and Supervision Failures for Widespread Use of Unapproved Communication Methods CFTC – Commodity Futures Trading Commission

CFTC Orders 11 Financial Institutions to Pay Over $710 Million for Recordkeeping and Supervision Failures for Widespread Use of Unapproved Communication Methods CFTC.

Posted: Tue, 27 Sep 2022 21:19:29 GMT [source]

Merchant Cash Advance Get fast access to cash to grow your business without ever taking out a bank loan. Surcharge Program Designed to offset your payment processing costs, our surcharge program is both convenient and compliant. Susan Guillory is an intuitive business coach and content magic maker. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards. Well, for starters, you sometimes need to have access to important documents for tax purposes or to borrow money. You may simply want to go back and compare one year’s financials to this year’s.

Specific Documents

Review all guidelines carefully and come up with a plan that’s easy to implement and stick with. When it comes to record-keeping, it’s better to be safe than sorry. That way you’ll make the best use of the vertical space in your office. This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein. If there’s ever any doubt about whether you should keep a document, keep it.

how long to keep business records

As you spend money, develop a process for capturing the receipt , categorizing the expense, and logging it in your bookkeeping system. Organized receipts will help ensure that your taxes are filed properly and that you’ll be able to defend your books in case of an IRS audit. Your daily and monthly cash receipts and cash disbursements worksheets are worth their weight in gold.


All business transactions should be documented, whether on paper or electronically. As your business grows, so does the pile of paper and files your business needs to store. An effective records management system doesn’t take much time to maintain and streamlines bookkeeping, tax preparation, and financial audits. Business records prove business transactions and activities. Growing a successful business requires organization on all levels, including your business records. Companies often get in trouble when choosing who to hire, who not to hire, who to fire or who to promote, which is why federal law applies to those records too.

how long to keep business records

During your monthly bank reconciliation, match every transaction in your accounting software to a record. As you comb through your business transactions, make sure you have a matching invoice, receipt, or contract. Bookkeeping 101 teaches us to have documentation for all business transactions. Master the accounting basics by making record-keeping part of your small business bookkeeping. Some business records, like a nonprofit’s tax-exempt certificates or a business tax ID, never become irrelevant, so always keep them close at hand. First, go paperless so all your records are easily accessible.

How Long Does a Business Keep Employee Records?

In today’s digital age, both paper and electronic records are acceptable forms of documentation. Make sure that records you have scanned into your computer files are legible, however. Ownership Records, such as business formation documents, annual meeting minutes, by-laws, stock ledgers and property deeds, should be retained permanently. Every organization throughout the world creates records, and every one of them has some specific legal requirement to retain at least some of them for at least some period of time. It’s also important to think beyond positive statutory or regulatory requirements and consider statutes of limitations. If you have employees, you’ll need to pay payroll taxes and be able to show proof of that to the IRS in the future.