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Record Retention 101: Data Guidelines for Your Tampa Business

Top down view of two open drawers of a full and organized file cabinet. This image represent Record Retention.

You’ve decided to declutter your business office. That’s awesome! But before you do, let’s go over the guidelines for documents commonly found in an office, how long you need to retain them, and the best way to discard them. Knowing this information could prevent a problem in the future.

How Long Should I Keep Company Records?

Maybe your business already has a retention policy for company records. If not, now is an excellent time to establish one. There are some standard record-keeping rules by the IRS and medical and educational industries, but others are less definitive. We’ve developed a list to help you keep track. Feel free to use this list as a guide, but always consult a professional for your specific business!  

Tax Returns

Per the IRS, you must keep your tax returns until they can no longer conduct an audit. The IRS can audit up to seven years, so keeping your records at least this long should be sufficient.  

Payroll Tax Records

You should keep payroll records for at least three years, per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). You also need to keep records showing how you determined wages, such as time cards, for two years. 

Human Resource Files

You should keep employee files for at least seven years after termination.  For an employee injured on the job, retain their files for ten years after the claim is settled.  

Financial Records

When it comes to business records like ledgers, budgets, and financial statements, financial experts usually recommend keeping those types of documents permanently. However, you can discard bank statements, invoices, expense reports, and the like after seven years.  

Ownership Papers

Deeds, contracts, and titles should be kept permanently.

Educational Institutions 

Student transcripts and other documents are to be maintained by schools. Depending on the type of record, you may have to retain it for up to 60 years.

Financial Institutions 

Financial Institutions have complex requirements. We recommend you contact the agencies connected to these policies to be sure you comply.  


Like financial institutions, medical records have complex requirements which require a professional’s advice. However, 2021 has seen new retention guidelines with the COVID pandemic and from the result of a recent Supreme Court decision relating to the statute of limitations. 

Therefore, keeping medical records for at least ten years will satisfy that statute, but some records must be kept for up to 30 years.  

The Final Step: Secure Disposal 

When it comes to your specific business, there may be particular mandates for retention. Ultimately, all organizations are responsible for complying with retention policies. 

If you’ve come across some documents you know you can (finally) dispose of, be sure to do so safely so that your hard work retaining records doesn’t go to waste! 

Call ShredQuick for on-site shredding services and close records the right way.

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