If you own a small business, you need to keep business records, whether in digital or hard copies. The IRS recommends saving financial records for up to seven years, although some documents should be saved longer than others. These are necessary for annual tax filings and potential audits.
How long do you legally have to keep business documents?
Always keep receipts, bank statements, invoices, payroll records, and any other documentary evidence that supports an item of income, deduction, or credit shown on your tax return. Most supporting documents need to be kept for at least three years.
What records need to be kept for 7 years?
Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction. Keep records for 6 years if you do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return. Keep records indefinitely if you do not file a return.
How long should you keep business records after closing?
Specific Item Holding Periods
Hold bank statements, inventory records, invoices, sales records, cash register tapes, W-2s, 1099s, and other tax filing documents for at least six years. If your business was set up as a corporation, keep monthly and quarterly corporate financial statements for at least three years.
What records do I need to keep and for how long?
How long should you keep documents?
- Store permanently: tax returns, major financial records. …
- Store 3–7 years: supporting tax documentation. …
- Store 1 year: regular statements, pay stubs. …
- Keep for 1 month: utility bills, deposits and withdrawal records. …
- Safeguard your information. …
- Guard your financial accounts.
How far back can IRS audit?
Generally, the IRS can include returns filed within the last three years in an audit. If we identify a substantial error, we may add additional years. We usually don’t go back more than the last six years. The IRS tries to audit tax returns as soon as possible after they are filed.
How long must documents be kept?
Mandatory retention periods
|Accounting and tax documents||3 years (private companies) 6 years (public limited companies)|
|Immigration checks||2 years from termination of employment|
|Expense accounts||6 years from the end of the related tax year|
What records should a business keep?
There are specific employment tax records you must keep. Keep all records of employment for at least four years.
Supporting Business Documents
- Canceled checks or other documents reflecting proof of payment/electronic funds transferred.
- Cash register tape receipts.
- Credit card receipts and statements.
How long should a business keep bank statements?
Accountants typically will advise businesses to keep their bank account and credit statements for 7 years. However, if your monthly statements aren’t serving any tax or other business purposes, you can consider shredding them after a year and keeping your detailed annual statements on hand for 7 years.
How many years of bank statements should you keep?
Most bank statements should be kept accessible in hard copy or electronic form for one year, after which they can be shredded. Anything tax-related such as proof of charitable donations should be kept for at least three years.
Can the IRS go back more than 10 years?
As a general rule, there is a ten year statute of limitations on IRS collections. This means that the IRS can attempt to collect your unpaid taxes for up to ten years from the date they were assessed. Subject to some important exceptions, once the ten years are up, the IRS has to stop its collection efforts.