Record Retention Guidelines
This guide has been assimilated from several sources including, but not limited to, the basic IRS Regulation - 26 CFR 1. 6001-1; The Guide of Record Retention Requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations; and by reviewing and analyzing numerous record retention schedules.
Before finalizing 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. The reader should consult with more authoritative guidance when specific questions need answering. Note: Please keep in mind that documentation may include all electronic files and memos. This can include, but is not limited to such items as emails, tax software files, general ledger files, “.pdf” files or any other form of information retention that is created and/or stored electronically.