Q&A: How long to keep records

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From The Times (Noblesville):

Q: How long should a newspaper keep records such as financial and employment documents, notebooks of reporters, etc? 

A: The statute of limitations for libel is two years from the publication of the article, so if you keep reporters’ notebooks, I’d use that time frame as a minimum.

Generally, the federal Internal Revenue Service may examine records three years back in an audit, so that would be a minimum time frame for financial records, although my contact at the IRS said there are some exceptions.

For example, in the case of a fraud investigation, keep documents for six years to avoid tax problems.

My IRS source said a look at employment tax issues can go back four years, so employment records, payroll, overtime, etc., should be kept a minimum of four years.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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