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Do you really only keep 7 years tax returns?
Old 01-10-2021, 11:51 PM   #1
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Do you really only keep 7 years tax returns?

I was on a shredding binge today where I found that apparently I never do any . . . Had the purchase papers from a car I bought in 1995. . . .

Taxes are next. . . Do I really only need 7 years? Do I ditch the 1099s then too? I probably have at least 20 years. . . Somehow they are hardest of the papers to get rid of.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:11 AM   #2
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It's a sickness...I have my tax returns back to the early 80's

Been CP2000 audited 3 times.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:11 AM   #3
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in the first half of the 2000s I moved 10 times in ten years and no paperwork ever made the move with me. I've now been in my current place seven years and I don't have any receipts, 1099s, tax returns etc., older than three years. But to be fair I live by myself and no kids nor have complicated taxes so being audited is not something I worry about.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:17 AM   #4
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Given the power of the IRS, I keep all of my tax returns (at least starting the last two decades). I see it as an almost existential risk not to do so. I'm not saying that I have any problems...I am in fact squeaky clean...I just worry about being defenseless if something ever came up and a false assertion were made. It's just space in our building's basement storage area.

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Old 01-11-2021, 12:23 AM   #5
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Everything back to 1982. I've seen what the government can do when it decides to not play nice. Having security clearances for 30 years and seeing the back workings of government was an additional eye-opener for sure.

Two mail audits, both ending in our favor.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:24 AM   #6
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I never keep hard copies since doing taxes via software.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:26 AM   #7
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I shredded all but seven a while ago. But I don't remember when that was. Probably after I retired. I'm sure I can start lighting the fireplace with a few years worth.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:40 AM   #8
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I have mine all the way back to '79.

Never been audited because I'm a rule follower not a rule breaker.
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:38 AM   #9
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I have scanned copies of all my returns and supporting docs for 20+ years. No reason not to keep them since they donít take any physical space.
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:20 AM   #10
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Gosh no. Especially if you own any type of property that has tax consequences (ie IRA's, real estate etc).

The IRS says that you need to keep your records until you have disposed of the property -- even if it is more than 7 years.

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Old 01-11-2021, 02:32 AM   #11
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Can't recall the last time I got rid of any old tax returns. I hope I never need them, but, you never know. YMMV
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
I shredded all but seven a while ago. But I don't remember when that was. Probably after I retired. I'm sure I can start lighting the fireplace with a few years worth.
+1

I got fed up and shredded all but seven a few years ago. I am sure there are reasons why I shouldn't have done that, but at that particular moment I didn't actually care.
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Old 01-11-2021, 03:53 AM   #13
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I have all mine I ever filed. But all you really need is 7 years, plus records to support the basis in real estate owned, any IRAs you have basis in, and needed support for future HSA withdrawals.
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Old 01-11-2021, 04:15 AM   #14
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I have scanned pdf's of all of my tax returns since 1979.
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Old 01-11-2021, 04:21 AM   #15
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Yes, I recently shredded all but last 7 years. Only some old IRA basis forms remain.

Real property records are different. I keep those showing basis for house, etc.

I have annual brokerage statements going back many years. Fortunately these are electronic now so don’t take additional space.
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Old 01-11-2021, 04:55 AM   #16
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I thought the IRS can only audit you within 3 years?
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Old 01-11-2021, 05:19 AM   #17
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I keep them all as PDFs (with multiple backups). I scan all associated paperwork and file those PDFs with the return, one folder for each year. Every piece of paper goes through the shredder. It's trivial to print those old PDFs if I need to, so why bother keeping the originals?
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Old 01-11-2021, 06:03 AM   #18
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Hard copies - 10 years.
Soft copies - forever.

Found a container with 2000-2004 financial data and taxes for in-laws. Just shredded.
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Old 01-11-2021, 06:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
I thought the IRS can only audit you within 3 years?
Yes, but if they find possible evidence of fraud, they can look back 7 years.
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Old 01-11-2021, 06:56 AM   #20
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I have mine back to 1977, but all in pdf form. I stopped keeping hard copies, and shredded what I had, years ago. Why do I need any hard copies?
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