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Documents Policy

I. Purpose. This Document Retention and Destruction Policy provides for the systematic review, retention and destruction of documents received or created by Ariel Ministries in connection with carrying out its declared purpose. This Policy covers all records and documents, regardless of physical form (including electronic documents), 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 Ariel Ministries’ operations by promoting efficiency and freeing up valuable storage space.

II. Document Retention Schedule. Ariel Ministries will follow the retention schedule below for all its Corporate records. Types of documents that are not listed, but are substantially similar to those in the schedule will be retained for the appropriate length of time.

Incorporation and Governance documents
Annual Reports to Secretary of State/Attorney General Permanent
Articles of Incorporation Permanent
Board Meeting and Board Committee Minutes Permanent
Board Policies/Resolutions Permanent
Bylaws Permanent
Construction Documents Permanent
Fixed Asset Records Permanent
IRS Application for Tax-Exempt Status (Form 1023) Permanent
IRS Determination Letter Permanent
State Sales Tax Exemption Letter Permanent
Contracts (after expiration) 5 Years
Correspondence (general) 3 Years
Accounting and Corporate Tax Records
Annual Audits and Financial Statements Permanent
Depreciation Schedules 10 Years
General Ledgers 10 Years
IRS 990 Tax Returns Permanent
Business Expense Records 6 Years
IRS 1099s 6 Years
Journal Entries 6 Years
Invoices 6 Years
Sales Records (box office, concessions, gift shop) 3 Years
Petty Cash Vouchers 3 Years
Cash Receipts 3 Years
Credit Card Receipts 3 Years
Bank Records
Cash Registers 10 Years
Bank Deposit Slips 7 Years
Bank Statement and Reconcoliation 7 Years
Electronic Fund Transfer Documents 7 Years
Payroll and Employment Tax Records
Payroll Registers Permanent
State Unemployment Tax Records 10 Years
Earnings Records 7 Years
Garnishment Records 7 Years
Payroll Tax Returns 7 Years
W-2 Statements 7 Years
Employee Records
Employment and Termination Agreements 10 Years
Retirement and Pension Plan Documents 10 Years
Performance Reviews and Records Relating to Promotions, Donations, or Discharge 7 Years after termination
Accident Reports and Worker's Compensation Records 5 Years
Salary Schedules 5 Years
Employment Applications 3 Years
I-9 Forms 3 Years after termination
Time Cards/Sheets 2 Years
Donor Records and Acknowledgement Letters 7 Years
Grant Application and Contracts 5 Years after completion
Legal, Insurance and Safety Records
Appraisals 10 Years
Copyright Registrations Permanent
Environmental Studies Permanent
Insurance Policies 10 Years
Real Estate Documents Permanent
Stock and Bond Records 10 Years
Trademark Registrations Permanent
Leases 6 Years after termination
OSHA Documents 5 Years
General Contracts 3 Years after completion

III. Electronic Documents and Records. 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. Emails pertaining to the types of scheduled documents above that contain substantial information NOT likely to be retained in any other form should be printed in hard copy and kept in the appropriate files or stored in an “archive” computer file folder. Electronic storage backup and recovery systems will be reviewed and tested on a regular basis.

IV. Emergency Planning. Ariel Ministries’ records will be stored in a safe, secure and accessible manner. Documents and financial files that are essential to operations during an emergency (e.g. extended power outages) will be duplicated or backed up at least every week and maintained off site.

V. Document Disposal. The Home Office Manager is responsible for managing the process of identifying and disposing of records that have reached the required retention period. Disposal of sensitive financial and personnel-related printed documents will be accomplished by shredding. Electronic documents will be disposed of by simple deletion.

All document disposal will be suspended immediately upon any indication of an official investigation or impending litigation. The disposal schedule will be reinstated only upon conclusion of such actions.

VI. Compliance. The Home Office Manager will periodically review these procedures with legal counsel or the organization’s certified public accountant to ensure that they are in compliance with new or revised regulations.