Document Retention and Destruction – Approved 2.23.2013


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 Document Retention and Destruction Policy (hereinafter “Policy”) provides for the systematic review, retention and destruction of documents received or created by the School in connection with the transaction of organization business. This Policy covers all records and documents, regardless of physical form, 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 School’s operations by promoting efficiency and freeing up valuable storage space.

Document Retention

The School 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 (box office, concessions, gift shop) – 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 School’s records will be stored in a safe, secure and accessible manner.  Documents and financial files that are essential to keeping the School operating in an emergency will be duplicated or backed up at least every week and maintained off site.

Document Destruction

The School’s Treasurer 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 to follow this policy can result in possible civil and criminal sanctions against the School and its employees and possible disciplinary action against responsible individuals. The Treasurer and finance committee chair 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.