What to Keep and What to Throw Away/Shred
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificates
- Divorce Certificates
- Death Certificates
- Military Documents
- Immunization Record
- Employment Records (Why)
- IRA Contributions (Why)
- Social Security Card
- Tax Returns: The IRS can audit your returns from 3 years ago; 6 years if you grossly under
reported; indefinitely if you filed a fraudulent return or did not file. So you could pitch your
returns after 7 years… however, if they claim you didn’t file, and you pitched it… well, now
you know why I put tax returns on the indefinite list! For more details on how long to keep tax
records, see how long to keep tax returns.
Keep During Ownership
- Car Titles and Service Records
- Receipts, Manuals, and Warranty Information for Appliances
- Receipts for Major Purchases like Jewelry, Furniture, and Computers
Keep During Ownership Plus 7 Years
- Even after you sell investments or real estate, you’ll still need to keep the gain or loss documentation for tax purposes.
- Stocks, Bonds, and Investment Records
- Savings Certificates
- Home Improvement Documentation
- Real Estate Records
Keep 7 Years
Many of the following will contain information that supports tax returns. Therefore it’s best to keep the following for seven years:
- Cancelled Checks
- Credit Card Statements
- Old Bank Statements
- Retirement Plan Contributions
- Supporting Documentation for Tax Returns
Keep Until Specified Date
- Annual Retirement Statements: Until retirement and funds are exhausted.
- Insurance Policies – Until property is sold, policy expires, and all claims are settled.
- Wills: Until replaced by a new one.
- Receipts not used for Warranties, Taxes, or Insurance
- Paycheck Stubs: Once you get your W-2, you can toss them
- Phone Bills not needed for taxes
- ATM Receipts
- Grocery Receipts
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