Certified Public Accountants

Document Retention Guidelines

Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. This is called the “three-year law” and leads many people to believe they’re safe provided they retain their documents for this period of time.

However, if the IRS believes you have significantly under-reported your income (by 25 percent or more), or believes there may be indication of fraud, it may go back six years in an audit. To be safe, use the following guidelines for maintaining your business and personal records.

Note:  Identity theft is a serious threat in today’s world, and it is important to take every precaution to avoid it. When disposing of records you should be shredding them, not just tossing them into the trash.

Business Documents to Keep for One Year

Business Documents to Keep for Three Years

Business Documents to Keep for Six Years

Business Records to Keep Forever

While federal guidelines do not require you to keep tax records “forever,” in many cases there will be other reasons you’ll want to retain these documents indefinitely.

Personal Documents to Keep for One Year

Personal Documents to Keep for Three Years

Personal Documents to Keep for Six Years

Personal Records to Keep forever

Special Circumstances

If you have any questions about documents you are maintaining or considering discarding, please contact us if you do not see the answer on this informational page.

 

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