Paper Toss for Uncle Sam.

Last night, I spent a good two hours going through all of my random papers and folders in hopes of squeezing in a bit more organization while tracking down all of my tax season paperwork. I was successful in locating what I needed for TurboTax, but I found Container Store to have a simple and relatively helpful list to follow when it comes to figuring out what documents and records to toss and what is in your best interest to keep. If you are still in doubt, contact the IRS for more assistance! Recycle away!

Documents to Keep Permanently:

  • Annual tax returns
  • Year-end summaries from financial service companies
  • Stock and bond certificates
  • Deeds of property and ownership, auto titles, insurance policies
  • Home improvement records
  • Health records, wills and powers of attorney
  • Birth certificates, adoption and custody records, death certificates

Documents to Keep Temporarily:

  • Paycheck stubs until reconciled with W-2 or 1099 forms
  • Phone and utility bills for one year (or seven years if business-related)
  • Monthly bank and credit card statements for one year
  • Monthly mortgage statements for one year
  • Brokerage or mutual fund statements until they’ve been reconciled at year end
  • Year end statements from credit card companies for seven years
  • W-2 and 1099 forms for seven years
  • Cancelled checks and receipts for all tax-deductible expenses for seven years

Discard Or Shred:

  • ATM, bank-deposit slips and credit card receipts after cleared on a statement
  • Non-tax deductible receipts for minor purchases
  • Old magazines and articles not read within the past six months
  • Receipts, instructions and warranties for items you no longer own (or warranties that have expired)
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