Record Keeping Requirements

Record Keeping Requirements

What records must I keep and for how long?

Good record keeping is an important element of running a successful business. The law requires businesses to keep complete and adequate records for a period of at least five years. In general, records should be kept that provide:

  • The amount of gross receipts and sales from all sources, including barter or exchange transactions.
  • Supporting documentation for all deductions, exemptions or credits claimed.

Other important records to keep include:

  • Federal income tax returns
  • Washington excise tax returns
  • General and subsidiary ledgers
  • Sales and/or cash receipts journals
  • Sales invoices
  • Purchase/cash disbursement journals
  • Purchase invoices for assets and expense items
  • Financial statements
  • Reseller permit for wholesale sales
  • Records of “to go” sales

Reference: WAC 458-20-254



Rev. 12/14/14


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washinton Hospitality Association here.

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