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Keeping Records

by Hortense
(New Orleans, LA, USA)

Recently, I shredded copies of tax returns that went back 25 years and I got to wondering, how long should I keep tax records and other legal papers, such as the settlement papers on property that I no longer own? Thank you.

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Mar 11, 2010
Tips on What Records to Keep
by: The Organizer

Hi Hortense. Thanks for writing in. I have to tell you, I don't consider myself a specialist on keeping records, just organizing them. However, I will tell you what I know about it.

As far as the IRS goes, I think you'll be safe keeping tax records and supporting evidence of income, expenses, deductions and so forth for seven years. Opinions vary on this topic. You can read more about the IRS record keeping requirements in Publication 552.

Most mortgage papers are public record, so they are easy to get from the agency that filed them if you ever need them. If you are assured that they have been recorded by a public agency, I don't see any point in keeping them forever.

I suggest that you keep warranties until they are expired, proof of payment on collection items and proof of child or spousal support paid forever, bills and receipts until you make sure that the payment was posted or through the end of the year where you can pick out tax deductible receipts. For things that you might be sued for eventually, I suggest that you keep your documentation until the statutes of limitations have run out, lease agreements for instance.

You will find more tips in my papers to keep article. I hope this helps.

-The Organizer

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