Keep for up to 12 months
These are examples of documents you may need to keep around to make sure your state and federal taxes are prepared as accurately as possible each year.
- ATM and deposit receipts
- Credit card bills
- Pay stubs (1 year, keep final cumulative pay stub for each year)
- Utility bills
Keep for 3 years
These are examples of documents you should keep on file for up to 3 years.
- Bank Statements
- Cancelled Checks
Keep for 7 years
These are examples of documents you should keep for at least 7 years to verify past tax returns.
- 1099 forms
- 401K/IRA statements
- Annuity year-end statements
- Brokerage year-end statements (7 years from disposition)
- Car/home insurance policies
- Certificate of deposit statements
- Loan records
- Medical receipts
- Receipts needed for tax deductions
- Receipts for major purchases
- Schedule K-1 from partnership or S corporation (7 years from disposition of entity)
These are examples of documents that should stay around as long as you do.
- Alimony, child custody, or prenuptial agreements
- Birth certificate
- Death certificate
- Detailed list of financial assets
- Life insurance policies
- Marriage license
- Medical records
- Military service records
- Photos/videos of valuable items
- Records of major home improvements and maintenance
- Social security cards
- Tax returns
- Trust agreements
- W-2 forms
No matter how long you keep your records, you should keep them well protected, such as in a fireproof safe, until they’re no longer needed. Then it’s off to a cross-cut shredder that can eliminate all traces of personal information. It’s also a good idea to scan important documents to create digital files on a portable storage device, so you can grab it and go in the event that you have to leave your home quickly for any reason. Of course, since everyone’s situation is unique, the suggestions we’ve shown you should only be used as a rule of thumb, not the final authority. Check with your lawyer or financial advisor to be sure.
Registration with the SEC should not be construed as an endorsement or an indicator of investment skill, acumen, or experience. Investments in securities are not insured, protected, or guaranteed and may result in loss of income and/or principal. Nothing in this communication is intended to be or should be construed as individualized investment advice. All content is of a general nature and solely for educational, informational, and illustrative purposes.