When or Do I Get to Throw It Away??? 

Document  Destruction

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act addresses the destruction of business
records and documents and turns intentional document destruction into a process
that must be carefully monitored.   
Nonprofit organizations should have a written, mandatory
document retention and periodic destruction policy. Policies such as this will
eliminate accidental or innocent destruction. In addition, it is important for
administrative personnel to know the length of time records should be retained
to be in compliance.  
The following table provides the minimum requirements.
This information is provided as guidance in determining
your organization’s document retention policy. 
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 
mortgages, notes and leases (expired)                             7 years 
Contracts  (still in effect)                                                     Permanently 
Correspondence   (general)                                                 2 years 
(legal and important matters)                                             Permanently 
(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  Policies (expired)                                                3 years    
Insurance  records, current accident
reports,  claims, policies, etc.                                                Permanently 
Internal audit reports                                                             3 years 
of products, materials, and supplies                                    7 years 
(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 
registrations and copyrights                                                 Permanently 
Withholding  tax statements                                                 7 years

 ©2004 National Council of Nonprofit Associations, www.ncna.org 
May be duplicated for non-commercial use, with attribution, by
charitable organizations.

The National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA) is the network of state and
regional nonprofit associations serving over 22,000 members in 46 states and the
District of Columbia. NCNA links local organizations to a national
audience through state associations and helps small and mid-sized nonprofits:
manage and lead more effectively; collaborate and exchange solutions; save money
through group buying opportunities; engage in critical policy issues affecting
the sector; and achieve greater impact in their communities.

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