Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
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Expert Q&A Archive

How long should you keep your tax records?
What are the guidelines for how long to keep your tax records?
Gail Rosen, CPA:
expert info »
Basically keep tax records 6 years after you file, except for records applying to a house you still own or any stock/investment you still own.
Rosemary Ervin, CPA:
expert info »
Discard old tax returns that are more than seven years old. Be sure to shred anything that has your Social Security number on it.
Jeff Kyle:
expert info »
If the IRS audits you, you may be required to provide documentation for the past 7 years. I only keep mine for 7 years. Each year, as I add the newest bundle of papers & receipts, I shred all the papers from 8 years back.
Michael A. Masiello:
expert info »
General rule of thumb, 7 years for tax returns. One method I have seen used successfully is to put each tax year into a large envelope and then rotate/destroy in sequence. Every 7th year gets destroyed when you put the new one in the box.
Jody Rorick, CPA:
expert info »

The IRS says three years from the filing date, so for tax year 2007, the statute of limitations for that return runs out 4/15/2011, unless there is fraud, in which case, the statute of limitations never runs out.

[Editor’s Note: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 552—“Recordkeeping for Individuals”—contains a section on “How Long To Keep Records,” which contains a table on “Period of Limitations.” The table contains information on how long to keep records for various purposes. IRS Publication 552 can be found at Readers may also want to refer to IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2007-05—“Keeping Good Tax Records”.]