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Good recordkeeping can cut your taxes and make your financial life easier

How long to keep records is a combination of judgment and state and federal statutes of limitations. Requirements for records kept electronically are the same as for paper records.

Generally, follow these recommended retention periods for various documents

 Record Retention Period
Tax returns Permanent
W-2s 7 years 
1099s 7 years 
Cancelled or substitute checks supporting tax deductions 7 years 
Bank deposit slips 7 years
Bank statements 7 years 
Charitable contribution documentation 7 years 
Credit card statements 
3 Years
Receipts, diaries, logs pertaining to tax returns 7 years 
Investment purchase and sales slips Ownership period + 7 years
Dividend reinvestment records 
Ownership period + 7 years 
Year-end brokerage statements Ownership period + 7 years 
Mutual fund annual statements Ownership period + 7 years 
Investment property purchase documents 
Ownership period + 7 years 
Home purchase documents Ownership period + 7 years 
Home improvement receipts and cancelled checks Ownership period + 7 years 
Home repair receipts and cancelled checks Warranty period for item
Retirement plan annual reports Permanent
IRA annual reports Permanent 
IRA nondeductible contributions (Form 8606) Permanent 
Insurance policies Life of policy + 3 years 
Auto records Ownership period + 3 years
Divorce documents Permanent
Loans and mortgages Term of loan + 7 years
Estate planning documents Permanent

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