Even though you may have digital backups of your files, your business is still obligated to retain physical records for a certain period of time. The retention process in New York City is easier when you know how long you need to keep your records for, and you can use this information to create a retention policy for your staff to follow. The records you store need to be in acceptable condition so you can refer to them if you need to, which means youâll have to find a way to keep them safe throughout the retention period. Read ahead for a look at the essential rules of record retention.
Know Your Minimums
You need to keep important documents around for a specific period of time, but that timeframe depends on the type of document. Certain documents, like Bylaws and Share Transactions are crucial to your business and should be retained for as long as possible. There are other important documents that come with legal record retention periods. Most documents that youâre legally required to retain should be kept for a minimum of seven years. This includes documentation of credits, income, and employee payroll. You should also hold onto leases and contracts for four or more years after the end of the term.
Create a Policy
Knowing how long you should keep your important documents allows you to set up an effective retention policy. Record retention might not be something you think about every day, so rather than looking up the minimums every time you need to know them, create a retention policy. The policy should outline how long each type of document needs to be retained, as well as when and how you can get rid of documents that have passed the retention period.
Store Records Safely
Part of record retention is keeping your documents safe. Thereâs no use in retaining documents if theyâre destroyed when you pull them up, so consider hiring a professional record retention service for assistance. The pros will keep your documents safe, and theyâll make sure they donât end up in the wrong hands.