How long do you keep tax returns?
I read several sources that say keep tax returns and records for at least three years. (IRS publication)
I have also heard seven years. Thank You.
- Anonymous1 year agoFavourite answer
Keep W-2s forever.
For simple returns (just a w-2), 3 years.
For complex returns, 6 years.
However that's from when you filed, so round up to 4 years and 7 years.
- musicmanLv 51 year ago
They advise 7 yrs !
- zipperLv 61 year ago
At lease 7 years, IRS can go back that far.
- ErikLv 71 year ago
Forever. There's no reason to get rid of them, and they don't take up a lot of space.
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- Max HooplaLv 71 year ago
I have scanned copies going back over a decade on my computer
- MichaelLv 71 year ago
Back when I was doing paper copies I kept them for 10 years. Now that I do everything electronically and my copies are just PDF files on a hard drive, I keep them all.
- curtisports2Lv 71 year ago
I have all of mine, going back to the 1970s.
- NancyLv 71 year ago
I keep mine forever. It's not like they take up a bunch of space, like I'm never all, "Oooh, I really need that extra two inches in my file cabinet."
Why do I keep them forever? Because they are a clear and concise record of my financial history and even my life. Because I never know when I might need some account number or address or whatever from them.
The federal government only requires you keep them for three years from the date you filed or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. That is unless you claim a loss for worthless securities or bad debt reduction, in which case you must keep records for seven years.
Those are all minimums, though. Nothing says you can't keep records longer. I'd say most err on the side of caution and keep at least seven years.
But for me, I have no pressing need to throw those records away. A tax return is one to two inches thick. So I find it absurd how people are all about when they can throw them away when they've already got to keep a drawer or box with several years of returns in it.
I mean, seriously, people keep so much crap, years and years and years of crap, papers especially. But then everyone's all johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to throwing away a tax return that's only slightly larger than a sheet of paper and an inch or so thick.
- David B.Lv 71 year ago
I believe that a minimum of three years is recommended but I always keep mine for seven. after that, it's to the shredder!
- WBLv 71 year ago
Three years is required by law, although they recommend to retain your records for 7 years.
- Anonymous1 year ago