It’s been a year and once again the paperwork has pilled up on your desk and in drawers overflowing with the promise of stress. As you’re going through it all you might be wondering what to toss and what to keep just in case if an audit for income taxes. Well, here’s some helpful guide lines for when it’s time to shred or save it.
Keep It for 1-3 months
- ATM Printouts – ATM printouts can be thrown away as soon as you balance your checkbook.
- Sales Receipts – Keep sales receipts only so long as would need it to return the product.
Keep It for 1 Year
- Utility Bills – You can go ahead and shred these at the end of the year. Are you are using them these for a deduction, like a home office? If yes, keep them for 3 years.
- Paycheck stubs – These can be shredded once you’ve compared them to your W2 & annual social security statement.
- Bank Statements, Credit Card Receipts, Quarterly Investment Statement – These can be shredded once you’ve compared them to your W2 & annual social security statement. Unless needed for tax purposes.
Keep It for 3 years
- Income Tax Returns, Medical Bills, Cancelled Insurance Policies, Records of Selling a House, Records of Selling Stock, Receipts, Cancelled Checks and other Documents that Support Income or a Deduction on Your Tax Return, Home Improvement Records, Annual Investment Statement – These documents need to be kept for 3 years after the due date of the tax return that includes the income or loss when it’s sold. Hold onto 3 years after you sell your investment.
Keep It for 7 years
- Paid Records of Satisfied Loans
As Long as They are Active
- Contracts, Insurance Documents, Stock Certificates, Property Records, Records of Pensions and Retirement Plans, Stock Records, Property Taxes Records, Disputed Bills.
- Adoption Papers, Death Certificates, Records of Paid Mortgages, Marriage Licenses, Birth Certificates, Wills.