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Our firm keeps tax returns prepared by us for five (5) years. We return all original documents to our clients for safekeeping. Here are our recommendations for record retention.
Income tax returns and supporting documents – Keep at least four (4) years and preferably six (6) if space is not critical. Once this period as elapsed, the documents can be discarded, but the returns them-selves, which do not take much space, should be retained indefinitely.
Residential property records – All escrow statements (purchase and sale) plus receipts for improve-ments should be kept for at least four (4) years after property is sold. Refinance papers should also be retained.
Purchase receipts for stocks, bonds, mutual funds – These should be kept for at least four (4) years after the asset is sold. This would include a record of stock dividends, splits and reinvested dividends.
Depreciation records – For any rental real estate or depreciable business property you own, keep records of the property’s cost, date acquired, and the schedule of depreciation claimed in previous years. This record should be kept until four (4) years after the disposition of the property.
Retirement plan contributions – Records of nondeductible IRA deposits, employer-plan stock purchases, rollovers, conversion to Roth IRAs and Keogh/SEP plan deposits should be kept until four (4) years after the plan assets have been withdrawn.
Personal records – Important papers such as estate and gift tax returns, divorce and property settlement agreements, deeds, title insurance policies, and all trust documents should be kept in a permanent file, or perhaps a safe deposit box.
Miscellaneous papers – All other financial documents including bank statements, cancelled checks, credit card statements, deposit slips, charitable contribution receipts, and medical bills can be discarded after four (4) years.
This written advice is not intended, and it cannot be used by a taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer.