Archive Retention Schedule

Local Retention Schedule for Financial/Legal Documents

The following list is for local church fiscal guidance only. It is not intended as a recommendation for any archival retention unless the local church has ceased to exist and therefore needs to send permanent records to a denominational repository.

Printable PDF of list


Permanent retention

1)      Architectural records (includes periodic photos of exterior, interior, and grounds).
2)      Audit reports, financial statements (year end) – General/private ledgers, trial balance, journals
3)      Chart of accounts
4)      Checks (for important payments and purchases)
5)      Correspondence (legal and important matters)
6)      Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale
7)      Depreciation schedules
8)      EEOC reports
9)      Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc.
10)  Loan documents and notes
11)  Patents and related papers
12)  Retirement and pension records including Summary Plan Descriptions (ERISA)
13)  Tax returns and worksheets
14)  Trademark registrations and copyrights


Ten-year retention

1)      Workers compensation documentation (after 1st closure)


Seven-year retention

1)      Accounts receivable and payable ledgers and schedules
2)      Contracts, mortgages, notes and leases (expired)
3)      Contracts (Still in effect)
4)      Donations
5)      Expense Analyses/Expense distribution schedules
6)      Garnishments
7)      Grants (funded)
8)      Invoices (to customers, from vendors)
9)      Inventory records
10)  Payroll records and summaries, including records related to employee’s leave (Equal Pay Act, FLSA)
11)  Personnel files (terminated employees)  (Title VII, ADA, ADEA)
12)  Purchase Orders
13)  Timesheets
14)  Withholding tax statements (FICA, FUTA, Federal Income)


Five-year retention

1)      OSHA logs (Records related to medical exams – 30 years after termination)


Three-year retention

1)      Bank reconciliation
2)      Bank statements, deposit records, electronic fund transfer documents, cancelled checks
3)      Correspondence (general)
4)      Employee demographic information and compensation records (Davis-Bacon Act, Service Contract Act, and Walsh-Healy Public contracts Act)
5)      Employment applications (Depending on the number of employees, Employers must retain applications and other personnel records relating to hires, rehires, tests, promotions, transfers, demotions, selection for training, layoff, recall, termination, or discharge.) (Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, ADA, ADEA)
6)      I-9’s
7)      Insurance policies (expired)
8)      Internal audit reports
9)      Polygraph test results and records (Employee Polygraph Protection Act)


One-year retention

1)      Affirmative Action Plan (EO 11246, Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)
2)     Grants (un-funded)
3)     Accepted Nomination Forms


Adapted from Connor Edmonds’ June 2008 Report