Student Unions & Activities : University of Minnesota

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Record Keeping

Student Group Financial Files

A document retention policy establishes the length of time certain documents must or should be retained and the manner in which those documents are disposed. It is highly recommended that your group maintain complete and accurate financial records on an ongoing basis. Some records need to be kept for different lengths of time. Your group’s records should contain original, unaltered documents.

Permanent files should include your constitution, bylaws, incorporation papers (if any), IRS Determination Letter (for tax-exempt groups), taxpayer identification number (one for US, another for Minnesota), and Minnesota Employment Services Taxpayer’s number. If you sell items subject to sales tax, you should have a Minnesota Tax ID Number assigned to you on file. You may find additional items to refer to from the “Record Retention” list below, including the “Indefinitely” category. You may want to keep the originals, or at least a copy in the student group file maintained by Student Unions & Activities. This will ensure that the records will always be accessible for future members.

Campus Life Programs can utilize the University’s central sales tax filing process when conducting sales of taxable items. Contact the University Tax Management Office at 612- 624-1053 for further information.

Guidelines for Record Retention

All organizations need an internal record-keeping system, retention policy and schedule, and document destruction plan. Student Activities recommends student groups consider the following when developing internal practices: Record Retention Plan .

We recommend noting the destruction date on individual non-permanent files in order to facilitate the record-keeping process for future officers.

Student Activities Advisors are happy to meet with group leadership to go over sample document retention policies. Please email or call 612-626-6919 to schedule an appointment.


Student Unions & Activities reserves the right to audit a student group. In the event that a student group is audited, the following items may be requested: general ledger, fees request, and bank statement for reserve account, payroll tax returns, receipts, invoices, cancelled checks, grants applications/documents, and sales/fundraising documents.


In order to be transparent with its members and the public, student groups should establish and evaluate clear performance measurements annually. Student group officers should clearly define their decision making processes with the group’s general members. Meeting minutes should be taken for all group meetings and made available to the general membership.

We encourage groups to create an annual report that can be shared with the group membership and general public. This report should include an explanation of the group’s mission, activities and results, and annual financial report.

Student Activities Advisors are happy to meet with group leadership to go over sample annual report documentation. Please email to schedule an appointment.