Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-11-2021, 06:57 AM   #21
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,310
Until about 7 years ago, I was keeping complete folders of tax returns going back to 1985, my first year of filing tax returns. Seven years ago, I decided to purge any tax folder more than 5 years old of non-essential stuff such as tax booklets and anything else not directly related to my returns, leaving me with just the returns and direct supporting documents and worksheets. Doing this reduced the volume of contents in those folders by at least 2/3, freeing up considerable storage space in some boxes.

Since 2014, I have been doing my returns using the free fillable pdf files, so I have those stored electronically. This doesn't affect what I keep or discard in general, but it is handy whenever I have to look something up on a recent return.
__________________
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
scrabbler1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 01-11-2021, 06:59 AM   #22
Moderator
Aerides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 11,237
Keep only the age required by law, no longer. Keeping things longer is riskier than not.

For the average individual? Probably no big deal either way, but in my Mega we were just as focused on destroying/deleting as soon it was legal to do so, as we were on keeping stuff long enough.

Because if we were required to keep it for 7, but kept it for 10, and the auditor found we had stuff 10 years old he could still demand we turn it over.
Aerides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 07:02 AM   #23
Moderator
Jerry1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 6,929
Keeping records is proportional to the actual tax situation. If I had real estate rentals, I’d probably keep my records as long as I had the property. My taxes are very straightforward so I only keep 7 to 10 years in a pdf.
__________________
Every day when I open my eyes now it feels like a Saturday - David Gray
Jerry1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 07:02 AM   #24
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
GalaxyBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: The Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains
Posts: 2,467
One of my first projects after ER was to cull my old tax files. I have PDFs but I like to keep a hard copy of what was actually sent to IRS.

When I cleaned out my late father’s house I found his returns going back to the early 1950s, and that was just the tip of the iceberg of old papers. It was actually quite fun to see just how much the value of money has changed.
GalaxyBoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 07:15 AM   #25
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 12,379
I keep hardcopy of the return, brokerage EOY statement, and W-2, mostly for my own interest. I got rid of all the other supporting docs beyond 7 years. I could easily scan and trash all of it but it doesn't even fill a box that sits on my closet shelf. When I eventually move I'll get rid of it, maybe after scanning. Or maybe I'll get on another purge kick some day, and scan and toss then.
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 07:16 AM   #26
Administrator
Gumby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 19,487
I have a copy of every tax return I ever filed, starting with tax year 1977.
__________________
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
Gumby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 07:28 AM   #27
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Golden sunsets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,393
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I have a copy of every tax return I ever filed, starting with tax year 1977.
Ditto, back to 1971.
__________________
"Luck favors the prepared mind"
Pasteur
Golden sunsets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 07:43 AM   #28
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 2,501
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry1 View Post
Keeping records is proportional to the actual tax situation. If I had real estate rentals, I’d probably keep my records as long as I had the property. My taxes are very straightforward so I only keep 7 to 10 years in a pdf.

nearly to the dawn of time. I rented my house out when I was on an expat assignment early in my career and still have the house. I'll need those records for when I sell the house. The second issue is my hsa. I fund it and invest it. I have the docs related to this and medical expenses. I can pull hsa reimbursements later.... thus need those records too.
bingybear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 07:45 AM   #29
Recycles dryer sheets
Ready-4-ER-at-14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: chicago
Posts: 484
I had a huge heavy file cabinet and tons of free space so tax files were not an issue.


When we started downsizing a year or two ahead of actually putting house on market I bought a high speed scanner and started digitizing and or shredding everything except for tax files. I also digitized through photos pictures of me with many personal items I had been keeping only for sentimental reasons.



Good thing I had planned ahead since house on market had offers essentially immediately and closed before we actually closed on a new place.


Finally I digitized everything except last year keeping all supporting paper and even my paper worksheets. Now everything is digitized and shredded about every 2-3 months.


Now I keep this years tax return and documentation until after the return is accepted and processed and money refunded if that is to happen.



Somehow i think I have just become a well organized hoarder. : )
Ready-4-ER-at-14 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 08:00 AM   #30
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 161
I keep all mine going back to the 70's. We recently discovered there was a year on DW's SS earnings history showing 0 when she did work. It was the year we were married, so thinking it had to do with not changing her last name in the system or something like that. Anyhow, I was able to come up with her W2 from over 30 years ago. She always gets on me about keeping all the old records, but I'm a packrat by nature I guess.
CincyDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 08:12 AM   #31
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,227
Back to 1976. It's kind of fun to look at old tax returns - which bring back memories (good and bad). I keep a tight ship on everything paper - except tax returns. They take up one quarter of my credenza, so it's no big deal.

I also have the first pay stub from every job I've had going back to Arby's in 1975.
PatrickA5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 08:17 AM   #32
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,227
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyBoy View Post
One of my first projects after ER was to cull my old tax files. I have PDFs but I like to keep a hard copy of what was actually sent to IRS.

When I cleaned out my late father’s house I found his returns going back to the early 1950s, and that was just the tip of the iceberg of old papers. It was actually quite fun to see just how much the value of money has changed.
My dad had utility bills going back 50 years. Every drawer in his house had paper documents. I finally found his current car title in a drawer mixed in with his electric bills from the 70's.
PatrickA5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Do you really only keep 7 years tax returns?
Old 01-11-2021, 08:24 AM   #33
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
teejayevans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,649
Do you really only keep 7 years tax returns?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Yes, but if they find possible evidence of fraud, they can look back 7 years.

Seems to me that shredding any “evidence” would be advisable.
;-)
Notice to IRS...I’m just kidding.
teejayevans is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 08:27 AM   #34
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Western NC
Posts: 3,631
I keep the returns forever...supporting documentation for only 3 years unless it spans a longer time period...e.g. basis for investments not yet sold, or basis & sales price for investments sold that resulted in carry-forward long-term capital losses.

Anything past 3 years (e.g. underreporting income by 25%+) is basically the IRS accusing you of criminal tax evasion...rare for that to happen considering what they have to do to proceed in those cases.
ncbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 08:32 AM   #35
Administrator
Gumby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 19,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
Seems to me that shredding any “evidence” would be advisable.
;-)
Notice to IRS...I’m just kidding.
One of the benefits of obeying the law is that you don't need to worry about evidence.
__________________
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
Gumby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 08:35 AM   #36
Administrator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N. Yorkshire
Posts: 31,683
I just checked, and I keep a paper copy of my returns in a drawer. When a new return is printed and stored, along with any paper copies of 1099s etc, I lift the oldest folder from the bottom of the pile and shred the contents.

I keep 20 years of old returns, so have none from last century. I have pdfs of the returns going back to 2006.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55, moved to England in May 2016
Enough private pension and SS income to cover all needs
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 09:25 AM   #37
Full time employment: Posting here.
MrsHaloFIRE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 906
In digits, yes. Hardcopy? Only the year Im working on taxes for.
MrsHaloFIRE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 09:32 AM   #38
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 4,830
Oh yes also need basis records on financial assets in taxable accounts, until sold and those returns passed the audit window.
Montecfo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 09:37 AM   #39
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 823
Hmm well I guess I am in good company of hoarders and will leave that box alone! My shredder thanks you. It is getting tired.
badatmath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2021, 09:46 AM   #40
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Washington State
Posts: 2,080
I have scanned copies of my tax returns from 1998 to 2007. I started saving PDF versions of my tax returns when we switched to paying taxes online.

As for paper copies, I think I have about ten years worth in my fire safe.

I have never needed an old return, but the digital versions take very little space to store (64MB for 22 years of returns and associated filing forms).
mountainsoft is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What to keep in after-tax and what to keep in tax advantaged? LakeTravis FIRE and Money 5 10-23-2013 06:04 AM
Scoring of "Millionaires Tax" proposal only brings in $47B over 10 years MasterBlaster FIRE Related Public Policy 57 03-25-2012 02:21 PM
Figuring total returns vs. price change only? Gardnr Active Investing, Market Strategies & Alternative Assets 20 09-24-2008 08:44 PM
Investors' actual returns versus total returns JohnEyles FIRE and Money 0 11-14-2006 01:20 AM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:01 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.