Records Managers

Disposition of Federal Records: A Records Management Handbook



2000 Web Edition (of 1997 printed publication)

Disposition of Federal Records - Chapter V

Figure 5-4. General Instructions for Record Cutoffs

For records with retention periods of less than 1 year:
Cut off at an interval equal to the retention period.

  • For example, if a record series has a 1-month retention period, cut the file off at the end of each month and then apply the retention period (that is, hold the file 1 more month before destroying.)

For records with retention periods of 1 year or more:
Cut off at the end of each fiscal (or calendar) year.

  • For example, if the disposition for a correspondence file is "destroy when 3 years old", then destroy it 3 years after the annual cutoff.

For records with retention periods based on an event or action:
Cut off on the date the event occurs or the action is completed and then apply the retention period.

  • For example, if the disposition for case working papers is "destroy when related case file is closed," then cut off and destroy the working papers when closing the related file.

For records with retention periods based on a specified time period after an event or action:
Place in an inactive file on the date the event occurs or the action is completed and cut off the inactive file at the end of each fiscal (or calendar) year; then apply the retention period.

  • For example, if the disposition for a case file is "destroy 6 years after case is closed," then destroy 6 years after the annual cutoff along with other case files closed during that year.
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