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Old 09-23-2015, 07:14 PM   #21
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I am a big fan of not wasting space and not holding on to stuff rarely used. Files included. I' d say I keep returns for about 7-8 years give or take a year. I think I save electronic pdf of the return going back 10-15.

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Old 09-23-2015, 08:45 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Winemaker View Post
I kept all DW paystubs from her 1st and 2nd teaching jobs, as well as all the stubs as from the years of subbing, while staying home with DD and DS. She went back full time after the youngest started school and taught for another 28 years. Amazingly enough, NONE of her earlier time, was never recorded, or even employment status. We moved to another state after 2nd crumbsnatcher was born. If I hadn't kept those eight years of stubs, we would never would have the proof to purchase her past time for the 2nd state's pension plan.
I've had a few similar incidents where my paranoia paid off... megacorp misreported SS earnings when they changed corporate names after a split... Tax returns AND paystubs helped resolve it. On another occasion they cancelled my health insurance while I was on maternity leave, despite having pay continuation for part of the maternity leave with payroll insurance deductions. (This was especially bad since I had the family insurance through my employer - and I went in for a new-baby checkup to be told insurance was cancelled.). Another time they canceled my insurance when I relocated - again - I was able to prove to HR and get it resolved because I had paystubs that showed insurance deductions.. And finally, they decided I was to accrue vacation of negative x hours per payperiod... and pay stubs showed their error (which they denied till I showed them the payroll stubs.) I didn't notice for several months - and they'd wiped out over 100 hours of vacation... I ended up correcting it to within 10 hours before I gave up the fight.

Paranoia about getting rid of records has paid off, financially for me.

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Old 09-23-2015, 09:20 PM   #23
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These days I keep the past 5 years worth of records. In the past, before I retired, I probably had 15+ years of records but I found I never needed anything older than the past 2 years.
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:02 PM   #24
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Thanks. OP here. I burned everything prior to 2004 in our fire pit last weekend.

Didn't bother scanning into PDF either. Life is cluttered enough. Really, no need. For the post 2004 records, I am keeping a hard copy but will destroy one as a new year gets filed.

Some mention needing to keep for record keeping / cost basis for retirement funds. I can't see much hassle - IRS is gonna tax u for the amount withdrawn. Cost basis doesn't matter unless you made a few after tax contributions. Tiny in the scheme of things. Most brokers carry cost basis now by law for taxable accounts. No tax on Roth withdraws. Am sure there are good outlier reasons to keep that much paper but I couldn't justify it. It was a good feeling to purge and de-clutter. We downsized houses recently and still pitching stuff we packed but have decided we won't ever really use. Goodwill loves us !
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:12 PM   #25
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Beyond seven years I only keep the 1040: throw out all supporting documents. Prior to 7, keep everything.

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Old 09-26-2015, 08:08 PM   #26
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I've printed to pdf since that was invented, but have no drive to scan old paper! I'd rather have a box of paper than scan anything.
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Old 09-26-2015, 08:57 PM   #27
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I'll keep our tax folders forever. Each also has the year-end statements from all accounts, it's pretty much a time capsule of all financial stuff for the whole year. 40 years worth will probably fit in two file boxes, it seems worth the space.

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