Accident reports/claims (settled cases)7 yrs.

Accounts payable ledgers & schedules

7 yrs.
Accounts receivable ledgers & schedules7 yrs.
Audit reportsPermanently
Bank reconciliations2 yrs.
Bank statements3 yrs.
Capital stock & bond record:  ledgers, transfer registers, stubs showing issues, record of interest coupons, opinions, etcPermanently
Cash booksPermanently
Charts of accountsPermanently
Checks (canceled-see exception below)7 yrs.
Checks (canceled for important payments - i.e., taxes, purchases of property, special contracts, etc, Checks should be filed with the papers pertaining to the underlying transaction).Permanently
Contracts, mortgages, notes & leases (expired)7 yrs.
Contracts, mortgages, notes & leases (still in effect)Permanently
Correspondence (general)2 yrs.
Correspondence (legal & important matters only)Permanently
Correspondence (routine) with customers and/or vendors2 yrs.
Deeds, mortgages & bills of salePermanently
Depreciation schedulesPermanently
Duplicate deposit slips2 yrs.
Employment applications3 yrs.
Expense analyses/expense distribution schedules7 yrs.
Financial statements (year-end trial balance)Permanently
Garnishments7 yrs.
General/private ledgers  (year-end trial balance)Permanently
Insurance policies (expired)3 yrs.
Insurance records, current accident report, claims, policies, etc.Permanently
Internal audit reports (longer retention periods may be desirable)3 yrs.
Internal reports (miscellaneous)3 yrs.
Inventories of products, materials and supplies7 yrs.
Invoices (to customers to vendors)7 yrs.
Minute books of directors, stockholders, bylaws and charterPermanently
Notes receivable ledgers & schedules7 yrs.
Option records (expired)7 yrs.
Patents & related papersPermanently
Payroll records & summaries7 yrs.
Personnel files (terminated)7 yrs.
Petty cash vouchers3 yrs.
Physical inventory tags3 yrs.
Plant cost ledgers7 yrs.
Property appraisals by outside appraisersPermanently
Property records, including costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints and plansPermanently
Purchase orders (except purchasing department copy)1 yr.
Purchase orders (purchasing department copy)7 yrs.
Receiving sheets1 yr.
Retirement & pension recordsPermanently
Requisitions1 yr.
Sales commission reports3 yrs.
Sales records7 yrs.
Scrap & salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.)7 yrs.
Stenographer's notebooks1 yr.
Stocks & bonds certificates (canceled)7 yrs.
Stockroom withdrawal forms1 yr.
Subsidiary ledgers7 yrs.
Tax returns & worksheets, revenue agent's reports and other documents relating to determination of income tax liability Permanently
Time books/cards7 yrs.
Trademark registrations and copyrightsPermanently
Training manualsPermanently
Union agreementsPermanently
 Voucher register & schedules7 yrs.
Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, etc. (includes allowances and reimbursements of employees, officers, etc. for travel and entertainment purposes)7 yrs.
Withholding tax statements7 yrs.

While it is mandated by state and federal laws to safely dispose all sensitive information; it is also required by law that documents be kept secure for a specific amount of time depending on the type of document.  This record retention schedule serves as a guide.  If you are uncertain as to how long you should retain specific documents visit the IRS website which provides you with an exhaustive record retention schedule. 

Record Retention Schedule