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Basic Recordkeeping for Employment Taxes and Information Return Reporting


For you to be able to respond to any inquiries from the IRS about your tax forms, you should keep the following records for at least three years after the due date of the return or the date it was filed, whichever is later. In the case of quarterly (Form 941) returns, the due date is considered April 15th of the calendar year after the quarter ends. In some cases, you may want to keep the records longer.

Employment tax:

  • Forms 941 or 944
  • Employee copies of Forms W-2 and W-3
  • Employee Forms W-4
  • Employee Forms W-5
  • Records of fringe benefits paid to employees, and how their value was determined
  • Names, addresses, and social security numbers of all employees
  • Dates of employment for each employee
  • Special payments such as sick pay, lump sum leave payments
  • Travel vouchers and other accounting for reimbursements to employees
  • Receipts, cancelled checks, etc., for deposits made or tax paid with return

Vendor or nonemployee payments:

  • Names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers of payees
  • Dates of payment
  • Forms W-9
  • Payer copies of 1099-MISC and other information returns
  • Forms 945
  • Description and purpose of payments made
  • Notices related to backup withholding
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 27-Mar-2015