March 15, 2009
Q: We’re doing some housecleaning at church and we have a question about how
long we should be keeping our legal and financial records. Is there a
recommended time period that a church should hang onto its financial
A: This is something each organization needs to decide on its own, says Tim
Brennan, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA’s) treasurer and vice president of finance. He recommends that
congregations seek legal counsel locally before discarding records. He also
suggests two websites that give some guidelines about records retention. One is
here: Hood&Strong LLP.
The general recommendations from the above source
are seven years for accident reports, contracts and leases, and cancelled
checks, and four years for bank statements and purchase orders. Items to be kept
permanently include audit reports, capital stock and bond records, cash books,
and depreciation schedules. See the website for a much more detailed list. For
another recommendation on records retention go to Nonprofit Law.
For more information contact interconnections @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Thursday, December 19, 2013.
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