Businesses quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of papers flowing around. Credit card receipts, bank statements, contracts, leases, employment papers – all of these can become overwhelming without a good filing system, even if the filing system is digital.
So how long do you need to keep records? The default rule is that you should keep all records for at least three years. This includes any tax information, receipts, and expired leases. However, you should keep many documents longer. For example, you should keep most contracts for at least three years AFTER the contract is complete. For any court cases that have resulted in judgments, you should keep the records for at least six year (and probably until the debt is paid). For retirement accounts, including contributions by owners to their own retirement accounts, you should keep the information until after the retirement funds are used. You should keep credit card records, including payment records, for at least seven years after the credit card is closed. Property records for property owned by the business (including receipts for any improvements to such property) should be kept for at least three years after the property is sold.
In addition to these time frames, there may be additional time frames for records depending on your business. For instance, attorneys in Colorado are suppose to keep client files for ten years. Financial advisers, medical professionals, and real estate professionals have their own time frames.
When in doubt about how long to keep records, you should contact your Denver business attorney. If you do not have a business attorney in Colorado, you can contact me by phone at 720-258-6647 or by email.