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Document Retention and Destruction Policy



In accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which makes it a crime to alter, cover up, falsify, or destroy any document with the intent of impeding or obstructing any official proceeding. This policy provides for the systematic review, retention and destruction of documents received or created by the Organization in connection with the transaction of organization business. This policy covers all records and documents, regardless of physical form (including electronic documents), contains guidelines for how long certain documents should be kept and how records should be destroyed. The policy is designed to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, to eliminate accidental or innocent destruction of records and to facilitate the Organization’s operations by promoting efficiency and freeing up valuable storage space.

Document Retention

The Organization follows the document retention procedures outlined below. Documents that are not listed, but are substantially similar to those listed in the schedule will be retained for the appropriate length of time.

Corporate Records

Annual Reports to Secretary of State/Attorney General Permanent

Articles of Incorporation Permanent

Board Meeting and Board Committee Minutes Permanent

Board Policies/Resolutions Permanent

By-laws Permanent

Construction Documents Permanent

Fixed Asset Records Permanent

IRS Application for Tax-Exempt Status (Form 1023) Permanent

IRS Determination Letter Permanent

State Sales Tax Exemption Letter Permanent

Contracts (after expiration) 7 years

Correspondence (general) 3 years

Accounting and Corporate Tax Records

Annual Audits and Financial Statements Permanent 

Depreciation Schedules Permanent

General Ledgers Permanent 

IRS 990 Tax Returns Permanent

Business Expense Records 7 years 

IRS 1099s 7 years 

Journal Entries 7 years 

Invoices 7 years

Sales Records (donations, gifts in kind, sponsorships) 5 years 

Petty Cash Vouchers 3 years

Cash Receipts 3 years 

Credit Card Receipts 3 years 

Bank Records

Check Registers Permanent

Bank Deposit Slips 7 years

Bank Statements and Reconciliation 7 years

Electronic Fund Transfer Documents 7 years

Payroll and Employment Tax Records

Payroll Registers Permanent 

State Unemployment Tax Records Permanent 

Earnings Records 7 years 

Garnishment Records 7 years

Payroll Tax returns 7 years 

W-2 Statements 7 years 

Employee Records

Employment and Termination Agreements Permanent 

Retirement and Pension Plan Documents Permanent 

Records Relating to Promotion, Demotion or Discharge 7 years after termination 

Accident Reports and Worker’s Compensation Records 5 years 

Salary Schedules 5 years 

Employment Applications 3 years

I-9 Forms 3 years after termination 

Time Cards 2 years

Donor Records and Acknowledgement Letters 7 years

Grant Applications and Contracts 5 years after completion

Legal, Insurance and Safety Records

Appraisals Permanent

Copyright Registrations Permanent 

Environmental Studies Permanent

Insurance Policies Permanent 

Real Estate Documents Permanent 

Stock and Bond Records Permanent

Trademark Registrations Permanent 

Leases 6 years after expiration

OSHA Documents 5 years

General Contracts 3 years after termination 

Electronic Documents and Records 

Electronic documents will be retained as if they were paper documents. Therefore, any electronic files, including records of donations made online, that fall into one of the document types on the above schedule will be maintained for the appropriate amount of time. If a user has sufficient reason to keep an email message, the message should be printed in hard copy and kept in the appropriate file or moved to an “archive” computer file folder. Backup and recovery methods will be tested on a regular basis.

Emergency Planning

The Organization’s records will be stored in a safe, secure and accessible manner. Documents and financial files that are essential to keeping the Organization operating in an emergency will be duplicated or backed up at least every week and maintained off site. 

Document Destruction 

The Organization’s Executive Director is responsible for the ongoing process of identifying its records, which have met the required retention period and overseeing their destruction. Destruction of financial and personnel-related documents will be accomplished by shredding.


Document destruction will be suspended immediately, upon any indication of an official investigation or when a lawsuit is filed or appears imminent. Destruction will be reinstated upon conclusion of the investigation. 


Failure on the part of employees or contract staff to follow this policy can result in possible civil and criminal sanctions against the Organization and its employees or contract staff and possible disciplinary action against responsible individuals. The Treasurer will periodically review these procedures with legal counsel or the organization’s certified public accountant to ensure that they are in compliance with new or revised regulations

Last updated: 1/24/2024

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