In response to many requests of what tax records should be kept and how long, we have prepared the following list for your reference based on Federal laws.

Income tax returns and supporting documents

Keep at least 4 years and preferably 6 if space is not critical. Once this period has lapsed, the documents can be discarded, but the returns themselves, which do not take much space, should probably be retained indefinitely.

Retirement plan contributions

Records of non-deductible IRA deposits, employer plan stock purchased, rollovers, and Keogh plan deposits should be kept until 4 years after the plan assets have been withdrawn.

Depreciation records

For any rental real estate or depreciable business property you own, keep records of the property’s cost, date acquired, and schedule of depreciation claimed in previous years. This record should be kept until 4 years after the property is disposed of.

Personal records

Important papers such as estate and gift returns, divorce and property settlement agreements, deeds, title insurance policies, and all trust documents should be kept in a permanent file, or perhaps safe-deposit box.

Residential property records

All escrow statements (purchase and sale) plus receipts for improvements should be kept for at least 4 years after property is sold. (Including refinance papers)

Purchase receipts for stocks, bonds, and mutual funds

These should also be kept for at least 4 years after the asset is sold. This would include record of stock dividends, splits, and reinvested dividends.

Miscellaneous papers

All other documents to include bank statements, canceled checks, credit card statements, deposit slips, charitable contribution receipts, and medical bills can be discarded after 4 years.