Sample Document Retention Schedule

Every business should know its requirement for retaining documentation relating to all of its business dealings. To assist the members along these lines, the MRAA worked with the law firm that provides legal representation benefits for the MRAA, Bellavia Blatt, to create an all-encompassing schedule that outlines how long you should retain individual documents. Bellavia Blatt researched a host of websites, including those of accounting and law firms to create this list.

MRAA disclosure: The following list of documentation retention periods are for illustration purposes only. Your obligation to retain particular documents will vary. Pleae check with legal counsel before implementing your document retention process. MRAA makes no representations to the legality of these retention periods.

If you are interested in exploring the services of Bellavia Blatt, you and view more information about their services here: Legal Services. For when legal needs appear, the MRAA has arranged an agreement with Bellavia Blatt, whose legal advisors are on standby to provide marine dealers like you with advice on subjects such as dealer agreements, real estate and lease agreements, employment practices, consumer complaints and more.

Sample Document Retention Schedule
DocumentRetention Period
Accident Reports/Claims (Settled Cases)10 years
Accounts Payable Ledgers & Schedules7 years
Accounts Receivable Ledgers & SchedulesPermanent
Appraisals7 years
Audit Reports (Certified, IRS, Warranty)Certified/IRS: Permanent
Warranty: See State Law and Manufacturer’s Policies
Bank ReconciliationsPermanent
Bank StatementsPermanent
Book of RegistrySee State Law
Capital Stock and Bond Records, Ledgers, Transfer Registers, Stubs Showing Issues, Records of Interest Coupon, Options, Etc.Permanent
Cash Books7 years
IRS Form 8300 Cash Reporting FormsPermanent
Charts of Accounts7 years
Checks (Cancelled – See Exception Below)Permanent
Checks (Cancelled for Important Payments, i.e., Taxes, Special Contracts. Checks should be filed with the Transaction Documents)10 years
Contracts, Notes, & LeasesPermanent
Correspondence (General)Permanent
Correspondences(Legal and Important Matters Only)Permanent
Correspondence (Routine/with Customers & Vendors)3 years
Credit Applications (Approval/Denied)5 years
Customer Declaration Forms7 years
Customer Files/Deal Jackets10 years
Daily Plate Issuance LogPermanent
Deeds, Mortgages and Bill of SalesPermanent
Deposit SlipsPermanent
Depreciation SchedulesPermanent
Employee Personnel Records(Post Termination)7 years
Employment ApplicationsPermanent
Expense Analyses/Expense Distribution Schedules7 years
Financial Statements – Year End,Other Months OptionalPermanent
Garnishments5 years
General/Private Ledgers(Year-End Trial Balance)Permanent
Gifts, Records of Gifts7 years
Group Disability ReportsPermanent
Incorporation Records Made or ReceivedPermanent
Inspection Records7 years
Insurance Policies7 years
Insurance Records, Accident Reports,Claims & Policies10 years
Internal Audit Reports (Longer Retention Periods may be Desirable)7 years – Expired;Permanent – Still in Effect
Internal Reports (Miscellaneous)5 years
In-Transit Permits (ITP)Permanent
Inventories of Products, Materials & Supplies2 years
Invoices2 years
Invoices (Vehicles)10 years
Invoices – to Customers/from VendorsPermanent
MV-50 (Certificate of Sale)4 years
MV-TCR (Temporary Registration)Permanent
Notes Receivable Ledgers and Schedules7 years
Odometer StatementsPermanent
OSHA RecordsPermanent
Parts Purchase Orders10 years After Expiration – Assigned;11 years After Expiration – Unassigned
Payroll Records and Summaries7 years
Petty Cash Vouchers10 years After Expiration
Physical Inventory TagsPermanent
Property Appraisals by Outsider Appraisers6 years
Property Records, Blueprints and Plans6 years
Property Records, Including Costs,Depreciation Reserves, Year End,Trial Balances, Depreciation Schedules7 years
Purchase Orders8 years
Receiving SheetsPermanent
Regulation Disclosure Statements7 years
Repair Estimates5 years
Repair Records/InvoicesPermanent
Requisitions5 years
Retail Installment Contracts6 years
Retirement and Pension RecordsPermanent
Sales Commission Reports3 years
Scrap and Salvage Records(Inventories, Sales, etc.)2 years
Extended Service Contracts3 years
Shipping and Receiving Reports7 years
Stock and Bond Certificates (Cancelled)3 years
Tax Returns and Worksheets, Revenue Agents’ Reports and Other Documents Relating to Determination of Income Tax LiabilityPermanent
Time Cards2 years from Date of Last Entry
Trademark Registrations and CopyrightsPermanent
Unemployment Tax ReturnsPermanent
Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifests5 years
Union Agreements5 years
Underground Storage Tanks Records, Installation, Maintenance and Closure2 years
Vouchers, Voucher Register and Schedules2 years
Withholding Tax StatementsPermanent
Work Orders (Repairs)2 years
Work Papers (Minors)2 years