Document Retention and Destruction Policy

Big Cat Rescue’s Document Retention and Destruction Policy

In accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which makes it a crime to alter, cover up, falsify, or destroy any document with the intent of impeding or obstructing any official proceeding, this policy provides for the systematic review, retention and destruction of documents received or created by Big Cat Rescue in connection with the transaction of organization business. This policy covers all records and documents, regardless of physical form, contains guidelines for how long certain documents should be kept and how records should be destroyed. The policy is designed to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, to eliminate accidental or innocent destruction of records and to facilitate the sanctuary’s operations by promoting efficiency and freeing up valuable storage space.

Documents shall be retained in accordance with the attached schedule. Documents that are not listed, but are substantially similar to those listed in the schedule will be retained for the appropriate length of time.

Electronic documents will be retained as if they were paper documents. Therefore, any electronic files, including records of donations made online, that fall into one of the document types on the above schedule will be maintained for the appropriate amount of time. If a user has sufficient reason to keep an email message, the message should be printed in hard copy and kept in the appropriate file or moved to an “archive” computer file folder. Backup and recovery methods will be tested on a regular basis.

Destruction of financial and personnel-related documents will be accomplished by shredding. Document destruction will be suspended immediately, upon any indication of an official investigation or when a lawsuit is filed or appears imminent. Destruction will be reinstated upon conclusion of the investigation.



Staff and Volunteers at Big Cat Rescue
Staff and Volunteers at Big Cat Rescue

Type of Document / Minimum Requirement

Accounts payable ledgers and schedules /  7 years

Audit reports /  Permanently

Bank Reconciliations /  2 years

Bank statements /  3 years

Checks (for important payments and purchases) /  Permanently

Contracts, mortgages, notes and leases (expired) /  7 years

Contracts (still in effect) /  Permanently

Correspondence (general) /  2 years

Correspondence (legal and important matters) /  Permanently

Correspondence (with customers and vendors) /  2 years

Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale of property owned/  Permanently

Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale of property disposed of/  7 years

Depreciation Schedules /  Permanently

Duplicate deposit slips /  2 years

Employment applications and records of current employees /  Permanently

Employment applications and records of former employees/  7 years

Employment applications and records of employees not hired/  3 years

Expense Analyses/expense distribution schedules /  7 years

Year End Financial Statements /  Permanently

Insurance Policies (expired) /  3 years

Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc. /  Permanently

Internal audit reports /  3 years

Inventories of products, materials, and supplies /  7 years

Invoices (to customers, from vendors) /  7 years

Minute books, bylaws and charter /  Permanently

Patents and related papers /  Permanently

Payroll records and summaries /  7 years

Personnel files (terminated employees) /  7 years

Retirement and pension records /  Permanently

Tax returns and worksheets /  Permanently

Timesheets /  7 years

Trademark registrations and copyrights /  Permanently


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