We all do this to varying degrees on a regular basis. That consummate struggle about whether or not to save a receipt, document, or other paperwork that we all engage in on a daily basis. Do I really need this receipt? Isn’t it time to get rid of these documents? Or worse, we suddenly realize that we did actually get rid of the paperwork that we now need. While we all have different comfort levels with regard to holding on to paperwork as well as how much clutter we can handle in our homes, there are some basic guidelines that might help you decide whether or not to save all that paperwork.
Personal records should be kept forever and should be stored in a fire proof home safe or safe deposit box if possible. These records include things like birth certificates, adoption records, social security records, estate planning documents and anything else of a personal nature .
Documents that concern your home should be kept until about three years after you sell or otherwise dispose of the home. Among these documents you may find property tax records, loan paperwork, deeds, receipts for improvements, insurance claims and anything else that could affect the value of your home.
Receipts and warranty information for major purchases should be kept for as long as you own the item purchased plus about a year or so if you sold the item.
Tax records should be kept for at least three years which is the statute of limitations; however, many people choose to hold on to them for five or six years. Not only could you be audited, but a copy of your tax return could be needed when you apply for a loan, apply for financial aid for college, or any number of other reasons. You should keep everything associated with the return, including your W-2s, 1099s, evidence of deductions and anything else pertinent to the return.
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