Record Retention: Post Tax-Season Cleanup

June 1, 2017

Cleaning out your desk after filing 2016 taxes and wondering if you should hold on to your sales receipts, income tax returns, credit card statements, medical bills etc.? There are various rules for individuals and businesses on how long specific documents should be kept, so be sure you’re aware of what you should be holding on to before you go ahead and throw things away.

What should you keep?

For individuals:

  • Credit card statements should be kept for 4 years
  • Copies of income tax returns should be kept permanently
  • Pay stubs should be kept until reconciled with your W-2
  • You should keep sales receipts for the life of the warranty, and the warranty should be kept for the life of the product
  • Wills and other legal records should be kept permanently

For businesses:

  • Deeds and mortgages should be kept permanently
  • Cancelled checks should be kept for 7 years; however if they’re for important payments like tax payments or land purchases—keep those forever.
  • Internal audit reports should be held onto for 4 years.
  • Minutes books of directors and stockholders—hold on to those forever.
  • Retain time cards for hourly employees for 4 years


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