Document Retention and Destruction Policy

This Document Retention and Destruction Policy identifies the record retention responsibilities of staff, volunteers, members of the board of directors, and outsiders for maintaining and documenting the storage and destruction of the organization’s documents and records.

The organization’s staff, volunteers, members of the board of directors, committee members and outsiders (independent contractors via agreements with them) are required to honor the following rules:

  1. Paper or electronic documents indicated under the terms for retention in the following section will be transferred and maintained by the board of directors;
  2. All other paper documents will be destroyed after three years;
  3. All other electronic documents will be deleted from all individual computers, data bases, networks, and back-up storage after one year;
  4. No paper or electronic documents will be destroyed or deleted if pertinent to any ongoing or anticipated government investigation or proceeding or private litigation (check with legal counsel or the human resources department for any current or foreseen litigation if employees have not been notified); and
  5. No paper or electronic documents will be destroyed or deleted as required to comply with government auditing standards (Single Audit Act).

Record Retention

The following table indicates the minimum requirements for document retention.  Whenever possible, documents shall be permanently stored in a digital archive.  Table adapted from the National Council of Nonprofits.

Type of Document Minimum Requirement
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules 7 years
Audit reports Permanently
Bank reconciliations 2 years
Bank statements 3 years
Checks (for important payments and purchases) Permanently
Contracts, mortgages, notes, and leases (expired) 7 years
Contracts (still in effect) Contract period
Correspondence (general) 2 years
Correspondence (legal and important matters) Permanently
Correspondence (with customers and vendors) 2 years
Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale Permanently
Depreciation schedules Permanently
Duplicate deposit slips 2 years
Employment applications 3 years
Expense analyses/expense distribution schedules 7 years
Year-end financial statements Permanently
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, and so on (active and expired) Permanently
Internal audit reports 3 years
Inventory records for products, materials, and supplies 3 years
Invoices (to customers, from vendors) 7 years
Minute books, bylaws, and charter Permanently
Patents and related papers Permanently
Payroll records and summaries 7 years
Personnel files (terminated employees) 7 years
Retirement and pension records Permanently
Tax returns and worksheets Permanently
Timesheets 7 years
Trademark registrations and copyrights Permanently
Withholding tax statements 7 years