What records should I keep? How long should I keep them? How should I organize my files?
Record retention doesn’t need to be a mystery, and the filing system doesn’t need to become a tomb. For audits, remember the following are the minimum requirements.*
|Documentation||Retention Requirement for Audit Purposes|
|Plan Documents (including Basic Plan Document, Adoption Agreement, Amendments, Summary Plan Descriptions, and Summary of Material Modifications)||At least six years following plan termination|
|Annual Filings (including 5500, Summary Annual Reports, plan audits, distribution records and supporting materials for contributions and testing)||At least six years|
|Participant Records (including enrollment, beneficiary, and distribution forms; QDROs)||At least six years after the participant’s termination|
|Loan Records||At least six years after the loan is paid off|
|Retirement / Investment Committee meeting materials and notes||At least six years following plan termination|
*For litigation purposes, we recommend that documents be retained indefinitely.
Of course, these are only general guidelines. For questions about your specific case, contact your plan consultant to discuss best practices for keeping records.
– Nicole Pond, Managing Consultant, Retirement Plans