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Records Disposal

Before a record can be destroyed, you must have an approved Records Retention and Disposition Schedule. For more information on creating a schedule, see our schedule preparation page.

Annotated Code of Maryland State Government Article 10, section 616 states that when records are destroyed in accordance with the terms of an approved schedule, the agency shall submit a certificate of records disposition (also known as a disposal certificate) to the Maryland State Archives.

About disposal certificates

Disposal certificates document what records are destroyed (including the dates and volume of the record), when and how it is destroyed, and what retention schedule provided authorization for the destruction.

Public officials are responsible for safeguarding the records in their custody. However, should a record be lost due to unforeseen circumstances (such as a flood or fire), the destruction of the records must still be documented. In these cases, public officials shall submit a disposal certificate along with a letter explaining the details of the destruction. If the record was not fully destroyed, but damaged beyond use, public officials shall submit a letter to the State Archivist explaining the circumstances and proposing that the record be destroyed.

Who can submit disposal certificates?

Only record officers or appointed designees of the records officers can submit disposal certificates.

How can I submit disposal certificates?

Contact the Archives at or 410-260-6467 to get an account to submit disposal certificates online. You can also submit disposal certificates in a paper format by mail. View Disposal Submission Form.

This web site is provided as a courtesy of the Maryland State Archives. As you develop your records management program, you should consult with your agency’s Records Officer.

This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

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