Aug 07 2020 | John Barwick
Which records should you keep for tax purposes, and how long should you keep them? The question causes confusion every year during tax season, in part because so many different rules apply.
Experts in tax document retention say how long to keep certain types of tax records can vary. For example, you generally should keep documents that include your itemized deductions for at least three years. Meanwhile, you should plan to keep copies of some tax records indefinitely.
Regardless of how long you keep various documents, you’ll want to make sure that you store copies securely. Just as importantly, critical tax documents should be destroyed in a secure manner when you no longer need them.
Wondering how long to keep personal tax returns? In general, you should keep copies of your tax returns — as well as supporting documents — for a minimum of three years. This includes any tax returns that you file, as well as all supporting documents, such as W-2 forms from your employer, 1099 forms, logs of business mileage, and records supporting your deductions.
The IRS does not mandate how long to keep tax records, but the three-year guideline for tax record retention relates to the agency’s statute of limitations. Under that law, you can file a claim for a refund owed to you within three years of the date you originally filed the return, or two years from the time you paid the tax to be refunded.
Plan on tax document retention for some types of records for longer than three years. For example, keep real estate records for as long as you continue to own the property.
If you’re not sure how to dispose of old tax returns, consider using a professional mobile shredding service. Shredding tax documents provides a secure method for disposing of sensitive paperwork that includes personal and business information that criminals can use for identity theft.
Many people feel tempted to simply throw out old tax-related documents. However, by shredding tax records as part of your document management process, you protect your customers and employees as well as yourself.
After reconciling bank accounts and other account statements, you can shred pay stubs, ATM receipts, bank records and other documentation. If you’re not sure about certain documents like insurance information, check retention requirements with your financial adviser or accountant before shredding.
If you want to keep copies of documents without devoting physical space to them, consider scanning the documents and storing encrypted digital copies.
Savannah Shredding has assisted businesses and individuals with securely shredding tax records since 2010. When you’re ready to start shredding tax documents, a mobile shredding truck can visit your location to shred at your site, or you can visit one of our mobile trucks to watch and gain peace of mind as your documents are destroyed securely.
We provide our services in a variety of settings, including commercial, residential and community events. Our professionals provide you with an environmentally friendly way to destroy tax documents and other paperwork containing sensitive information. To learn more about our services and pricing, please contact Savannah Shredding today.