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Old 08-05-2007, 02:35 PM   #1
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How long do you guys save your statements? Mortgage, utilities, tax, mutual funds and etc.

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Old 08-05-2007, 02:47 PM   #2
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I have saved every tax return I have ever submitted. I have saved all the needed documents to back up the tax return with the tax return.

That means I don't save utility statements, mortgage statements, but I do save the annual mutual fund statements, the 1099s, the 1098s, receipts for charitable donations. I do not save monthly statements once the annual statement is available.

Now with all the online statements, I must make sure that I print out the annual statements because online statements disappear when you close an account and/or your account is sold to another company. That is, online statements do not remain available forever and you may need them to determine a cost basis some time far in the future.

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Old 08-05-2007, 03:05 PM   #3
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After 38 years of w*rk and landlordship, I could fill up a small box truck with paper. I really feel sorry for my daughter when DW and I are finished. Then again, my parents did the same thing, and I haven't finished cleaning that up yet either.
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:27 PM   #4
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I shred utility bills yearly. Other things, like brokerage statements I hold on to for a couple years. I keep all tax returns, back to 1976 when I first started working.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:01 PM   #5
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I read this in the Chicago Tribune this spring and thought it was a good summary of what to save and for how long:

Save key tax documents in case of an audit

By Carolyn Bigda | Your Money staff reporter April 29, 2007

Tax season is officially over. But your desk or kitchen table may be buried under piles of statements and receipts. Though it would be nice to dump the whole lot in the trash, don't be too eager. You need to hang on to some of those documents in case Uncle Sam decides to audit your return.

The chances of that dreaded event are rising, too. During the past few years, the Internal Revenue Service has stepped up enforcement efforts--and not just for the super-rich. Last year, the IRS examined some 817,000 non-business returns filed by people making less than $100,000, up 53 percent from 534,000 in 2001.

That translates to less than 1 percent of taxpayers, but it's worth having your records in order just in case. Here is what you need to save and for how long, as well as what can be tossed:

-- Make room in storage

The IRS has up to three years after a return is due to start an audit. But if you underreport your income by more than 25 percent, the deadline extends to six years. And if the IRS suspects you failed to file a return or committed fraud, it can audit you at any time.

As a result, you should hold onto your tax files for a minimum of six years, said Mark Luscombe, the principal federal tax analyst for CCH Inc., which provides tax information and software. One common issue: "You may not know if you have an understatement," Luscombe said, especially if say, an employer has an old address and a W-2 didn't reach you. While you want to keep any W-2s and 1099s, you can get rid of last year's pay stubs. The W-2 and 1099 should recap how much income, interest and dividends you earned, as well as how much you paid in taxes.

-- Print a return

More than half of individual returns are filed electronically today. If you're among them, make sure to print a copy of your return. Or back up an electronic version so that the return is not lost if your computer crashes.

-- Keep your receipts

Hang onto any paper that confirms a tax deduction or credit. The list may include receipts, credit card and bank statements, canceled checks and student loan interest statements.

Although you can request copies of statements from your bank, you may be charged a fee to receive them. And if you can't come up with the supporting documents, you'll have to pay Uncle Sam the tax owed plus interest until you send in the check--today, 8 percent annually plus a late-payment fee of 0.5 percent per month.

As for other receipts and credit card statements still lingering in your shoebox from the year, shred them (as long as they're not needed for warranty purposes).

-- Save investment records

You don't need to file away every quarterly statement from your retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b) or individual retirement account. But keep the most recent version of forms that show when you make contributions, conversions or distributions for as long as you have the account (then hold them for six more years).

For investments outside of a retirement plan, you need to prove the "cost basis," or price you paid for a stock or mutual fund, so the IRS can calculate how much to tax you in capital gains. Hold onto that paperwork, including statements that detail stock splits or dividend reinvestment, for as long as you hold the asset (plus six years).

-- Track homeowner costs

Similarly, you want to hang onto most homeownership documents for as long as you own the property (again, plus six years). That includes any receipts for home improvement projects. Although many home sales are free of capital gains taxes, you do have to pay sometimes, so documenting these projects can help lower the tax bill when it comes time to sell--as long as you have the paper trail.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:27 PM   #6
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Three years of tax returns with supporting documents. Last Annual IRA/Roth and/Bank statements. All other stuff gets dumped. Files are about 8 inches in top drawer of 2 drawer filing cabinet. Wills, Property Deeds, Car Titles until they are disposed of or renewed. Travel light.... never caused a problem yet.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:36 PM   #7
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I have my tax returns from 1974 to present, along with necessary reciepts, forms, and whatever. Also keep all investment papers/documents. CC statements, utility bills, and that sort of thing, I keep until I get the next month's, then shred 'em. Medical & dental ins paperwork (bills/receipts), I keep until I decide I should toss ' set limit as it depends on what it was for. Bank statements.....usually a year.

A book that helped me get a better grip on what to keep and where to keep it, and what to pitch and when, was "Taming the Paper Tiger at Home" by Barbara Hemphill.

After I read her book I started shredding....and had to buy a new shredder 'cause I wore out the old one getting rid of years worth of stuff that I thought I needed to keep. In fact I just came across 2 more boxes of fodder for the shredder!
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:04 AM   #8
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How about paystubs?
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by steve88 View Post
How about paystubs?
I kept mine until after tax season (at least until after w-2's came out and everything checked out correctly).....except the final pay stub each year and my last one from April of this year (my final pay check ) which I've always kept for the heck of it, because it shows YTD pay and deductions. That way I can look back and say "Looky there....I'm making more ER'd than I was when I had a j*b!"
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:02 AM   #10
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Paystubs and bank statements all come as PDFs. They get attached in Quicken and backed up accordingly.

My EA gives us a CD with copies of our tax returns as long as binders with copies of the tax returns and all supporting documents.

Receipts for big ticket items get scanned, backed up and filed.

Any bills that aren't electronic get paid and shredded.

Any paper that might be fodder for a trash diver gets shredded and put in the recycling.

We go through about one shredder every 2-3 years.
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by steve88 View Post
How about paystubs?
Probably until after you retire if you are expecting a pension or have other benefits that may require documentation of employment, pay rate, etc. Even the federal government occasionally loses a personnel file.

Prepare for the future. Everything changes.
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