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How long do you keep paperwork

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
OK...digging through my tax stuff I just came across receipts from a credit card from 1992. Needless to say, I'm going to shred those, but how long do you keep paperwork like cc receipts and other household bills that are paid?

Would you keep it longer than the IRS can audit you? (which I think is 7 years, right?)

Just curious...
post #2 of 6
Okay- it depends on a lot of things what we keep:

Tax returns- 7 years out. Every year in Dec, we shred the one that is 8 years out that following Jan

Credit card statement- every 3 months. Most companies have that info or you can retrieve it online

Monthly bills-6-12 months. Usually at year end we shred them or earlier if we are in a shredding mood.

Bank Statements, IRA, 401k- I shredd them after I am through w them but DH likes to hold onto them until the next one arrives. Again, all this info available thru the bank or online.

receipts- for everyday things, once it shows up on my checkbook statement or credit card I shred. If its something like an appliance, we have a manilla folder for that recipe. A lot of times we have referred to the receipt for store info etc for another reason or to buy another product.

We keep all of our owners manual in one place- from the instruction that came with the Baby bjorn to the washing machine. Every 6 mos or so we go thru it and discard anything we no longer have. Or if we are getting rid of an appliance ie giving it away or something, we retrieve the manual along with it. Also, when we sell this house in a year or so, we plan on leaving all the appliances so the instructions can stay.

Cancelled check- shred them or don't have the bank send them.
post #3 of 6
What financial records to keep and how long to keep them

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
OK...I am a total pack rat. Oh wow, I have my work cut out for me. :

fwiw...I filled the shredder today with receipts I found on my nightstand from last year, and a few dating back to 2001 (not kidding!)...shredding more tomorrow I hope. I actually found the nightstand surface, and the floor next to my bed for the first time in a looooooong time (the carpet is blue, btw!)

Thanks for the responses.
post #5 of 6
My DH still has a file of utility bills from the late 80's, and it Drives Me Up the Wall (and not in the good way). What everyone else said above is good. Personally, unless it is tax related or under warrenty, I shred everything almost immediately.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Update and notes on the paperwork issues: I couldn't find my check register for the first half of the year (found it yesterday, thank goodness). We pay 99% of our bills on line, but the things we write checks for are almost all things I need to keep documented for business or rental house deductions. So looking over your link Simplicity, I found this:

"Go through your checks each year and keep those related to your taxes, business expenses, housing and mortgage payments.
Throw away those that have no long-term importance."

I find that particularly worrisome because our bank (Citibank) does not return our checks or any digital image of our checks at all. They allow us to look at a digital image of the face online (which I find extremely convenient for the once or twice a year I forget to note who a check is written to and have to look it up), and then after 3 months that is gone. We contacted the bank in regards to getting digital copies while I was panicking about the lost checkbook, and they charge $5 for a photocopy of each check : you request.

I guess I have to assume that my check register is proof enough that I wrote these checks--since the bank doesn't offer them at all, I figure that their method must be good enough/legal, right?
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