Before you throw all your tax documents into the air after the filing to celebrate the occasion, we need to discuss how long you should keep that information in a safe place.
That’s right, you should store your tax information and documentation, including a copy of your tax return, for safekeeping, in case you need to reference it. But for how long?
three year limitation
When we talk about tax documents, we mean a copy of the tax return you filed, along with W2s, mileage records, 1099s, receipts, or any documentation supporting your deductions or tax credits you may have claimed. . This includes everything you used to prove the state of your finances on your tax return.
As a general rule across the board, you should keep your tax records for at least 3 years after the date you filed the return, according to the statute of limitations outlined by the IRS. For example, if you filed this year for the April 18, 2023 tax due date, you must keep your 2022 tax return documentation up to April 2026 tax deadline.
This time frame was established to benefit both you and the IRS. You can benefit from this 3-year timeline because you have a set amount of time to claim any tax refund you are owed. On the other hand, the IRS will generally go back three years if it requires justification of what you claim on your taxes.
There is always a but”. When managing your retirement accounts, you should plan to keep your tax records for seven years after the funds have been fully withdrawn. You should also keep your documentation for that time if you are claiming a deduction for bad debt or a loss on securities that you have qualified as worthless.
Records related to the property (including inventory and equipment) must be kept until the 3-year term expires in the tax year in which you sold the property and claimed it on your tax return. If more than 25% of your income was omitted from your tax return, the IRS has six years to impose any additional taxes that are required. If this situation fits your finances, keep those records for at least six years.
If you filed a fraudulent tax return, or if you refused or forgot to file a tax return, plan to keep your financial records forever. In this case, the IRS has no statute of limitations.
Some people decide to keep all their financial records forever. With technology so convenient, it’s easy to back up all your financial records to your computer. Make sure you are using strong security software. It’s a good idea to back up your financial data to a device that isn’t connected to the internet 100% of the time.
If you choose to throw away your records, shredding them is always good advice. You can go one step further and separate your shredding materials into different waste bins.
Regardless of how you decide to save or dispose of your financial records, remember to be safe and secure. This is your financial life we are talking about here!
when you use TurboTaxPlease note that you can access your previous year’s tax return or transfer your previous year’s tax return for free.
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