1601 Colonial Parkway, Inverness IL 60067
847-991-5200 | don@cronin-cpa.com


How long do I have to keep my records?

Record Retention Picture

Record retention is a must, whether for personal, business, or tax reasons. However, record retention is necessary only to the extent it serves a useful purpose or satisfies legal requirements. For example, generally the IRS must assess additional tax within three years after the later of filing of a return or its due date. The period is six years if the taxpayer omits items of gross income that in total exceed 25% of gross income reported on their return. If a fraudulent return is filed or if no return is filed there is no limit to the period the tax can be assessed. In practice, however, most individuals and businesses retain records based on available space.

Below is a recommended record retention schedule for some of the more common items for businesses and Individuals.

IRS Record Retention Guidelines



Tax returns, & financial statements Permanent
General ledger Permanent
Payroll records (W-2’s, 941, journals, etc) Permanent
Depreciation schedules Permanent
Corporate or partnership legal documents Permanent
Cancel checks, bank statements and deposit slips 7
Expense reports 7
Vendor receipts and invoices 7
Customer invoices 7
Time reports 7
Equipment records 5 (after disposition)
Leases and contracts 10 (after termination)
Employee contracts 7 (after termination)
Position applications, resumes or other job advertisements and replies relating to employees 7 (after termination)
Position applications, resumes or other job advertisements and replies relating to non-employees 1 (after completion)


Tax returns & W-2 forms Permanent
Pay stubs 3
Annual 1099s and tax reporting statements 7
Property records (home purchase, improvements, stock purchases, etc.) 5(after disposition)
Bank statements, credit statements, etc. 7
Receipts for deductible expenses (charity, medical, taxes, etc.) 7

Please contact us at 847-991-5200 if you have a question on a particular item.

Source: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

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The information presented in this website is only of a general nature, may omit many details and special rules, is current only as of its published date, and accordingly cannot be regarded as legal or tax advice. Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.

Serving Chicago & Chicago Northwest Suburbs such as: Palatine, Inverness, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, Elk Grove, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling, Arlington Heights, Prospect Heights, Des Plaines, Deer Park, Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer, Deerpark, Long Grove, Fox River Grove in both Cook County and Lake County

1601 Colonial Parkway, Inverness, IL 60067 • don@cronin-cpa.com • 847-991-5200 • Fax: 847-241-0050