The Record Retention Guide
Businesses must maintain book and records so that an accounting of the business activities may
be performed. Whether it be for an audited financial report, a compilation, a review, a tax return,
or a specific management report, businesses must gather, summarize and analyze facts and
figures to support reports, tax returns and conclusions. After the report is issued and/or the tax
return is filed, the next important question is just how long must these business records be
This handbook offers some guidance by providing a suggested time-frame to maintain records. It
has been assimilated from several sources, including the basic IRS Regulation - 26 CFR 1. 6001-
1, The Guide of Record Retention Requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as
by reviewing and analyzing numerous record retention schedules.
Before finalizing an entity’s record retention procedures, it is recommended that the IRS
regulations, state and local government retention requirements and the AICPA’s Filing and
Record Retention Procedures Guide be reviewed.
Please note: The suggested retention periods shown are not offered as final authority, but as
guideposts against which to compare your needs. There may be several situations, for historical
or reference purposes, for example, that necessitate longer periods than legally required.
In addition, many specific industries require retention periods that are different than rated here
for specific terms.
In most cases, the period of retention listed in this guide provides a more
conservative retention period.
Additionally, in all circumstances, be aware that the Materiality Rule under Treas. Reg. 1.6001-
1, governs that all books and records must be maintained so long as they remain material in the
computation of any tax.
Finally, if you are subject to the new rules promulgated by The Sarbanes – Oxley Act, SEC
17CFR, pay careful attention to section 210.2-06 which requires that work papers and other
documents that form the basis of an audit or review, including memos, correspondence and e-
mail which contain opinions, analysis or financial data, including those that are inconsistent with
the auditor’s final opinion, be retained for a period of 7 years.