** Sample Document Retention and Destruction Policy **

Part I: Purpose

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 Organization's name ("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 Organizations operations by promoting efficiency and freeing up valuable storage space.

Part II: 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.

Part III:  Organization 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 Workers 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
Part IV: 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.

Part V: Emergency Planning

The Organizations 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.

Part VI: Document Destruction

The Organizations 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.

Part VII: Compliance

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 organizations certified public accountant to ensure that they are in compliance with new or revised regulations.