Keep or Shred?

shreddingWhat to Keep and What to Throw Away/Shred

Keep Forever

  • 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.

Throw Away/Shred

  • 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

Click here to download a copy of this page in pdf format.