What is a records retention period?

A records retention period is a legal rule that tells you when and for how long to keep a certain document or piece of information. A records retention period can be a maximum retention period, telling you when you are no longer allowed to keep a record. When the maximum period has ended you should destroy that record. A minimum records retention period tells you when you should keep a record at a minimum. When the record retention period has ended you may still keep the record but you no longer have to (unless there is another retention law that tells you to keep or destroy the record).