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How Long Should You Keep Your Business Records? – Azad Compay

How Long Should You Keep Your Business Records?

how long to keep accounting records

For other documents, you can use a scanner to scan them into your computer, or you can take photos using your cell phone. Many Americans find the tax season stressful, but this year’s filing process could be worse than ever. On IRS.gov, you can get up-to-date information on current events and changes in tax law.. Henry buys parts and supplies on a per-job basis; he does not keep them on hand..

How Long to Keep Tax Records and Other Documents

In addition, you must keep supporting documents, explained later. Company X must ensure that it retains its source documents and is able to explain all transactions relating to its income, business expenses, and purchases. For example, source documents such as taxi receipts and travel documents must be retained to substantiate the company’s public transport or overseas travelling expense.

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Company X must also keep its accounting records and schedules which summarise its business transactions in a systematic order. Businesses of all sizes are required to keep up-to-date records that reflect their gross income, expenses, deductions, and transactions. It’s best to maintain your records with the help of an experienced bookkeeper and electronic accounting software. Another great resource is your business bank account, which shows your income and transactions.

how long to keep accounting records

Download Record Keeping Guides

Organizing your physical and cloud-based storage along with developing a DRP is the best way to ensure your organization complies with record-keeping standards. https://www.bookstime.com/ Review all guidelines carefully and come up with a plan that’s easy to implement and stick with. Your state and local government may have stricter guidelines.

A financial life necessarily involves a significant amount of documentation—from monthly bank statements to insurance documents to the various materials required to file your taxes. By learning what needs to stay and what’s free to go, you can minimize the amount of materials you accumulate over time. Some businesses choose to use electronic accounting software programs or some other type of electronic system to capture and organize their records. The electronic accounting software program or electronic system you choose should meet the same basic recordkeeping principles mentioned above.

  • The most common forms of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation.
  • The IRS uses the latest encryption technology to ensure your electronic payments are safe and secure.
  • Manual record keeping is also susceptible to mishaps such as fires and floods, which may easily destroy paper records.
  • To qualify to claim expenses for business use of your home, you must meet both the following tests.

tax software survey

Henry takes the cash sales entry from his cash register tape. If he had no cash register, he would simply total his cash sale slips and any other cash received that day. These sample records should not be viewed as a recommendation of how to keep your records. They are intended only to show how one business keeps its records. An example of a journal entry exhibiting a payment of rent in October is shown next.

Returns filed before the due date are treated as filed on the due date. For the sake of brevity, we will not cover those guidelines in this post. The period of limitations is the period of time in which you can amend your return to claim a credit or refund, or the IRS can assess additional tax. Table 3 contains the periods of limitations that apply to income tax returns. All requirements that apply to hard copy books and records also apply to electronic storage systems that maintain tax books and records. When you replace hard copy books and records, you must maintain the electronic storage systems for as long as they are material to the administration of tax law.

how long to keep accounting records

What about electronic records?

If you claim deductions from worthless securities or bad debt, you need to hang onto records for seven years. If you decide not to file a return, you must keep your records indefinitely. And the IRS also notes that you should how long to keep accounting records keep your business records indefinitely if you file a fraudulent return. It’s a good idea to hold on to quarterly brokerage statements until you’ve got the annual summary in hand to make sure they match up, McBride says.


This article provides information, rather than advice or opinion. It is accurate to the best of the author’s knowledge as of the article date. This article should not be viewed as a substitute for recommendations of a retained professional. Such consultation is recommended in applying this material in any particular factual situations.

  • You will likely pay a fee for this service, but it’s a small price to keep your personal information safe.
  • In some unique cases, your accounting records can help prove that you’re on the right side of the law.
  • This part explains why you must keep records, what kinds of records you must keep, and how to keep them.
  • States with community property laws include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • For example, a recordkeeping system for a small business might include the following items.

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