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

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