By Justin Bragiel, THLA General Counsel

“How long do I need to keep this file?”  It’s a common question we receive especially at the end of the year.

Even in the era of electronic records, it’s good practice to establish a policy for document retention.  This guide covers the most common records that hoteliers keep with THLA suggestions. Also, remember:  Employee and guest data should be safeguarded carefully.  Encrypt and password protect electronic records, and keep paper records within areas of controlled access.


Revenue forms such as transcript sheets, cash register receipt tables, folios, financial statements, complete bookkeeping systems such as cash sheets, general ledgers, profit and loss records, must all be kept for four (4) years.  This also includes registration cards and folios.

Any records that relate to payroll such as time cards, payroll sheets or forms, tip slips for tip credit, employment taxes, etc., must be kept for four (4) years after the date the tax is due or paid, whichever is later.

Anything that relates to property value, ad valorem taxes, franchises, tax deeds, etc., must be kept indefinitely, or until the property is sold.

OSHA:  5 – 30 YEARS

Form 300 filings must be kept for a minimum of five (5) years.  Records of employees being treated for HAZCOM of Blood Borne Pathogens must be kept for thirty (30) years following employment.


The U.S. Department of labor requires each employer to preserve for at least three (3) years payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales and purchase records. These records must be open for inspection by the Division’s representatives, who may ask the employer to make extensions, computations, or transcriptions.

The records may be kept at the place of employment or in a central records office.  Additionally, the Texas Workforce Commission requires employers to maintain employment records for four (4) years.


All records pertaining to liquor licenses, sales tax records from package stores, mixed beverage permits and private club records must be kept for four (4) years.  The records, in general, must reflect the total gross receipts from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages and those associated services that are subject to the gross receipts tax.


All records for SALES TAX must be kept for four (4) years.  If fraud is suspected, they can go back further than this, but four years is the legal requirement.

Any records on the FRANCHISE TAX on a corporation itself must be kept seven (7) years.

HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX records must be kept for four (4) years.

If you have any other questions, give us a call or send us an email:


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2 comments on “End of year cleaning – How long to keep that file

  1. Robert Valdez on

    If I need copies of all my hotel receipts for 2017 at one hotel, is that hotel reqired to maintain those records and provide them to me? How long is a hotel legally reqired by state of texas to maintain those records? 3 years?

    • Justin Bragiel on

      Good question. Hotels are required to keep basic hotel sales, rate, and tax information available for governmental tax auditors. However, hotels are generally not required to turn that information over to the public. As a matter of customer service, many hotels will provide former guests with receipts upon request if the hotel is able to do so.


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