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RECORD RETENTION GUIDE – PERSONAL

CAUTION: IDENTITY THEFT IS A SERIOUS THREAT IN TODAY’S WORLD, AND IT IS IMPORTANT TO TAKE EVERY PRECAUTION TO AVOID IT.  AFTER IT IS NO LONGER NECESSARY TO RETAIN YOUR DOCUMENTS YOU SHOULD DISPOSE OF THEM BY SHREDDING THEM OR USE SOME OTHER METHOD AND DO NOT DISPOSE BY MERELY THROWING ANY RECORD AWAY IN THE TRASH.

paperworkCreate a Backup Set of Records and Store Them Electronically.

Keeping a backup set of your personal records is easier than ever now since many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and most financial information is available on the Internet.

Even if the original records are provided only on paper, they can be scanned and converted to a digital format. Once the documents are in electronic form, taxpayers can download them to a backup storage device, such as an external hard drive, or burn them onto a CD or DVD (don’t forget to label it).

You might also consider online backup, which is the only way to ensure that data is fully protected. With online backup, files are stored in another region of the country, so that if a hurricane or other natural disaster occurs, documents remain safe.

Personal Documents To Keep For One Year

  • BANK STATEMENTS
  • CANCELED CHECKS
  • MONTHLY & QUARTERLY MUTUAL FUND AND RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTION STATEMENTS (RECONCILE WITH YEAR-END STATEMENTS)
  • PAYCHECK STUBS (RECONCILE WITH W-2)

Personal Documents To Keep For Three Years

  • CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS
  • EXPIRED INSURANCE POLICIES
  • MEDICAL BILLS (IN CASE OF INSURANCE DISPUTES)
  • UTILITY RECORDS

Personal Documents To Keep For Six Years

  • ACCIDENT REPORTS AND CLAIMS
  • MEDICAL BILLS (IF TAX RELATED)
  • OTHER TAX RELATED BILLS
  • PROPERTY RECORDS & IMPROVEMENT RECEIPTS
  • SALES RECEIPTS
  • SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR TAX RETURNS
  • WAGE GARNISHMENTS

Personal Records To Keep Forever

  • CPA AUDIT RECORDS
  • IMPORANT CORRESPONDENCE
  • INCOME TAX PAYMENT CHECKS
  • INCOME TAX RETURNS
  • INVESTMENT TRADE CONFIRMATIONS
  • LEGAL RECORDS
  • RETIREMENT AND PENSION RECORDS

Special Circumstances

  • CAR RECORD (KEEP UNTIL CAR IS SOLD)
  • CREDIT CARD RECEIPTS (KEEP WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS)
  • DEPRECIATION SCHEDULES & OTHER CAPITAL ASSET RECORDS (KEEP FOR 3 YEARS AFTER THE TAX LIFE OF THE ASSET)
  • INSURANCE POLICIES (KEEP FOR THE LIFE OF THE POLICY)
  • MORTGAGES/DEEDS/LEASES (KEEP 6 YEARS FROM TERM OF AGREEEMENT)
  • OTHER BILLS (KEEP UNTIL PAYMENT IS VERIFIED ON THE NEXT BILL)
  • PROPERTY RECORDS/IMPROVEMENT RECEIPTS (KEEP UNTIL PROPERTY IS SOLD)
  • SALES RECEIPTS (KEEP FOR LIFE OF THE WARRANTY)
  • STOCK & BOND RECORDS (KEEP FOR 6 YEARS AFTER SELLING)
  • WARRANTIES & INSTRUCTIONS (KEEP FOR THE LIFE OF THE PRODUCT)
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