Document retention is the practice of holding onto or keeping important records and documents, known formally as “retaining” them or the act of retention.
How Long Should I Keep Corporate Records?
Corporate records includes general information related to the formation, administration and overarching strategy of the company. Some of these documents may overlap with categories found in the other sections within this guide.
Suggested Retention Duration for Select Corporate Records
|Document Type||Suggested Minimum Retention|
|Accident reports and claims||7 years after settlement or resolution|
|Affirmative Action Plan||1 year after plan expiration|
|Bylaws and Corporate Charter||Permanently|
|Contracts||7 years after expiration|
|Copyright, trademark and patent registrations||Permanently|
|Administrative Correspondence*||3 years|
|*(Important memos, emails and other correspondence regarding strategy, services, programs, policies, procedures, planning and other such materials)|
|General/Routine Correspondence||1 year|
|Customer and vendor correspondence||2 years|
|Material Safety Data Sheets||Permanently|
|Patents and related filings||Permanently|
|Meeting agendas and minutes||Permanently|
|Purchase Orders||1 year|
|Inventory Records||7 years|
A similar table will be provided in the corresponding sections for:
- Financial Records
- Business Taxes Records
- Personnel Records
- Management Plans and Procedures
- Donor Records
Important note: This list is only meant as a general guideline, not a substitute for legal advice. Consult your CPA or a New York business attorney for specific advice on best practices and legal compliance requirements.