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 (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 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.