Document Retention

Avatar BCR | May 27, 2016 1 View 0 Likes 0 Ratings

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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.


Type of DocumentMinimum Requirement
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules7 years
Animal recordsPermanently
Audit reportsPermanently
Bank Reconciliations2 years
Bank statements3 years
Copies of 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 ownedPermanently
Deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale of property disposed of7 years
Depreciation SchedulesPermanently
Duplicate deposit slips2 years
Employment applications and records of current employeesPermanently
Employment applications and records of former employees7 years
Employment applications of applicants not hired3 years
Expense Analyses/expense distribution schedules7 years
Year End Financial StatementsPermanently
Insurance Policies (expired)3 years
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc.Permanently
Intern and Volunteer recordsPermanently
Internal audit reports3 years
Inventories of products, materials, and supplies7 years
Invoices (to customers, from vendors)7 years
Minute books, bylaws and charterPermanently
Patents and related papersPermanently
Payroll records and summaries7 years
Personnel files (terminated employees)7 years
Retirement and pension recordsPermanently
Tax returns and worksheetsPermanently
Timesheets7 years
Trademark registrations and copyrightsPermanently
Withholding tax statements7 years




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