How long do you save tax returns?

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DidItMyWay
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How long do you save tax returns?

Post by DidItMyWay » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:16 pm

Trying to de-clutter/purge around here and just realized that I have many years of federal tax returns saved, possibly going back to 1996!

It looks like the IRS says the requirement is to save everything for 2-3 years (or up to 7 "if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction", which does not apply to me.)

Am thinking I'm going to toss everything except for the last 5 years. Are there any reasons I shouldn't?

retiredjg
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:21 pm

There are things you should not toss.

- You need to keep any Forms 8606 (non-deductible contributions to IRA and Roth conversions) if you have any.

- You need to keep any records that have to do with how money has gotten into Roth IRA (1099, Form 5498, etc).

I keep much more than the most recent returns because they take up so little room. Others throw everything out after a certain number of yers.

livesoft
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by livesoft » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:25 pm

Forever. They give a nice historical perspective about once every 3 years of where we have been.
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cheese_breath
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:30 pm

Forever.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

user5027
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by user5027 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:36 pm

Asked and answered.

Link

And I am not a lawyer, but I have been at depositions.

DidItMyWay
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by DidItMyWay » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:38 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:25 pm
Forever. They give a nice historical perspective about once every 3 years of where we have been.
Hmm...I think this may be why I have saved them up to this point and have had a hard time parting with them.

DidItMyWay
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by DidItMyWay » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:41 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:21 pm
There are things you should not toss.

- You need to keep any Forms 8606 (non-deductible contributions to IRA and Roth conversions) if you have any.

- You need to keep any records that have to do with how money has gotten into Roth IRA (1099, Form 5498, etc).

I keep much more than the most recent returns because they take up so little room. Others throw everything out after a certain number of yers.
Thanks!

DidItMyWay
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by DidItMyWay » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:42 pm

user5027 wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:36 pm
Asked and answered.

Link

And I am not a lawyer, but I have been at depositions.
Thanks! I didn't realize this was a recent topic. Will review it.
Last edited by DidItMyWay on Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DidItMyWay
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by DidItMyWay » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:42 pm

Double posted.
Last edited by DidItMyWay on Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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climber2020
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by climber2020 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:43 pm

DidItMyWay wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:16 pm
Trying to de-clutter/purge around here and just realized that I have many years of federal tax returns saved, possibly going back to 1996!
Scan them as PDF files and store them on your computer. No clutter and you can always print them out later if you need hard copies.

mptfan
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by mptfan » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:52 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:30 pm
Forever.
Wow, that's a long time.

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grabiner
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by grabiner » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:20 pm

Save the returns themselves forever; you might need them for some other record. (I needed my 1997 W-2 for my 2012 NJ state taxes.)

You can discard supporting documents once the statute of limitations expires for the last relevant return, as long as you don't need the documents for other records. For example, if you donated to charity in 2017, you can discard that with the rest of your 2017 records in 2024, six years after the deadline for filing 2017 taxes. If you bought a stock in 2000 and have not yet sold it, you need to keep the record of the purchase for computing your capital gain. If you sell the stock in 2018, you can discard the record of the purchase in 2025, six years after the deadline for filing your 2018 return.
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Gill
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Gill » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:44 pm

Another forever here. Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963. They don't take up much room when you throw out all the supporting material.
Gill

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John151
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by John151 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:06 pm

I’ve kept all of my tax returns since I started filing them in 1973. They don’t take up much room, and I don’t see any reason to throw them out. Also, it’s interesting to review them to see how much income I had a various points in my life, and where the income came from.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by DaftInvestor » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:41 pm

Agree with others- why no keep forever especially the last decade which most people have electronically - they can all fit on a single thumb drive.

Geologist
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Geologist » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:50 pm

Gill wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:44 pm
Another forever here. Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963. They don't take up much room when you throw out all the supporting material.
Gill
I agree with Gill, although I only started filing returns in 1980.

beardsworth
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by beardsworth » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:51 pm

DidItMyWay wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:42 pm
user5027 wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:36 pm
Asked and answered.

Link

And I am not a lawyer, but I have been at depositions.
Thanks! I didn't realize this was a recent topic. Will review it.
It has actually been a topic quite a few times before. Using that search box at the top of the forum page, for save tax returns, shows all of the following:

https://www.google.com/search?sitesearc ... ax+returns

WinnFlak
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by WinnFlak » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:53 pm

Forever.

It seems silly to say forever, and I've never had a problem with the IRS regarding anything, but I once got tangled up with the city of Richmond, Dept of Taxation. I ended up having to prove my innocence, twice, for the same issue. Took 2 years to get it resolved. Giant waste of time and resources, but in the end the paperwork was my proof they couldn't disregard.

It was an honest mistake on their part, but the burden of proof fell on me. Also, I had to do all of the work to resolve it, and I got almost no help from City Hall, even after they admitted the mistake. It was quite the ordeal. Getting tangled up in government bureaucracy was extremely unpleasant.

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cheese_breath
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:58 pm

Gill wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:44 pm
... Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963...
Mine go back ro 1959. Anyone earlier, or do I win the contest? :happy
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Yankuba
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Yankuba » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:11 pm

Can’t you get an old return from the IRS if you need it?

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:17 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:58 pm
Gill wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:44 pm
... Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963...
Mine go back ro 1959. Anyone earlier, or do I win the contest? :happy
I have my mother-in-laws going back to WWII (1943 IIRC). The whole file is less than an inch thick. It is in a box that will be shredded if I move or run out of space.

She never filed on a post card,

scrabbler1
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by scrabbler1 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:47 pm

Gill wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:44 pm
Another forever here. Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963. They don't take up much room when you throw out all the supporting material.
Gill
Like Gill and Geologist, I keep everything after I toss the supporting material for all years since 1985, the first year I filed returns. I keep the supporting material going back 5 years, most of it the bulky income tax booklets. Once I tossed the supporting material, there isn't much left.

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Toons
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Toons » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:53 pm

In pdf format
Stored On Computer and
Google Drive
They don't take up much space
Kilobytes each.
7 years.
No paper
:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

Gill
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Gill » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:22 pm

scrabbler1 wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:47 pm
Gill wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:44 pm
Another forever here. Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963. They don't take up much room when you throw out all the supporting material.
Gill
Like Gill and Geologist, I keep everything after I toss the supporting material for all years since 1985, the first year I filed returns. I keep the supporting material going back 5 years, most of it the bulky income tax booklets. Once I tossed the supporting material, there isn't much left.
Yes, I keep the supporting material also, going back about seven years.
Gill

matt fe2o3
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by matt fe2o3 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:52 pm

Yankuba wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:11 pm
Can’t you get an old return from the IRS if you need it?
Yes but you cannot get the backup - because generally speaking you never supply it (like business receipts).

I have returns going back to 1992. The fact of the matter is a lot of receipts are faded - however there are a few nuggets and records I don't want to part with.

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whodidntante
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by whodidntante » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:55 pm

I cannot think of any good reason to dispose of a tax return.

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snackdog
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by snackdog » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:05 pm

When in doubt, throw it Out! We keep a couple years only.

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midareff
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by midareff » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:16 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:30 pm
Forever.
+1 Digitized from official transcript.

Gray
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Gray » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:58 pm

TAXWATCH
Never throw away your tax returns

By Eva Rosenberg
Published: Apr 22, 2013 6:13 am ET

http://www.marketwatch.com/amp/story/gu ... 2128040CF6

Why you may need those old 1040s someday

RudyS
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by RudyS » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:10 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:58 pm
Gill wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:44 pm
... Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963...
Mine go back ro 1959. Anyone earlier, or do I win the contest? :happy
1954! I only save the tax forms themselves after the 7 year limitation has passed.
Last edited by RudyS on Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

windaar
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by windaar » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:59 pm

Forever. There is info pertaining to purchase, inheritance, Roth, etc. why shred a few pages that might have valuable info?

Dead Man Walking
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Dead Man Walking » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:15 pm

Check out the requirements at irs.gov and your state's tax site.

KATNYC
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by KATNYC » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:10 am

I shredded paper files a few years ago but have saved the files online. I had returns from the 1990's in paper format.
Everything since 2011 is electronic only.

anoop
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by anoop » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:54 am

I've held on to all my returns all the way back to my first one in 1993.

I used to hold on to much more stuff -- bank statements, etc. Now I just hold a rolling 1 years worth of such statements.

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Robert The Bruce
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by Robert The Bruce » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:10 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:17 pm
cheese_breath wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:58 pm
Gill wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:44 pm
... Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963...
Mine go back ro 1959. Anyone earlier, or do I win the contest? :happy
I have my mother-in-laws going back to WWII (1943 IIRC). The whole file is less than an inch thick. It is in a box that will be shredded if I move or run out of space.

She never filed on a post card,
I have some from my grandpa going back to the 1920s. I am holding a 1040A from 1922 right now.
The stone age didn't end for lack of stone.

SimonJester
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by SimonJester » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:02 am

snackdog wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:05 pm
When in doubt, throw it Out! We keep a couple years only.
+1 Having had to go through a deceased relative's 40 years of paper work and determine what needed to be shredded and what needed to be kept, do your heirs a favor and clean up. It took WEEKS to shred everything and we still had three banker boxes full of stuff we kept.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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cheese_breath
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:48 am

SimonJester wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:02 am
snackdog wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:05 pm
When in doubt, throw it Out! We keep a couple years only.
+1 Having had to go through a deceased relative's 40 years of paper work and determine what needed to be shredded and what needed to be kept, do your heirs a favor and clean up. It took WEEKS to shred everything and we still had three banker boxes full of stuff we kept.
I too had to go through decades of papers stuffed in various boxes, garbage bags and shopping bags when MIL died at age 92. She never threw out anything, but even though it took weeks to go through it all I'm glad she didn't. Some of the very old stuff is very interesting and some might be valuable in settling family disputes about inheritances if they flare up again.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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BTDT
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by BTDT » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:52 am

I keep mine for seven years :beer
If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people would be librarians.

PatrickA5
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by PatrickA5 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:21 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:48 am
SimonJester wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:02 am
snackdog wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:05 pm
When in doubt, throw it Out! We keep a couple years only.
+1 Having had to go through a deceased relative's 40 years of paper work and determine what needed to be shredded and what needed to be kept, do your heirs a favor and clean up. It took WEEKS to shred everything and we still had three banker boxes full of stuff we kept.
I too had to go through decades of papers stuffed in various boxes, garbage bags and shopping bags when MIL died at age 92. She never threw out anything, but even though it took weeks to go through it all I'm glad she didn't. Some of the very old stuff is very interesting and some might be valuable in settling family disputes about inheritances if they flare up again.
Mine are neatly organized in file folders in my credenza - going back to 1974. It will take my kids all of 1 minute to throw them out. Maybe 15 minutes if they want to go to the trouble of shredding them.

For the most part, I agree with the "when in doubt, throw it out". My remaining paperwork is limted to one drawer in my desk. I recently went through one of those every 5 years clean out projects. Now, I don't keep much of any paper.

PatrickA5
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Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Post by PatrickA5 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:23 pm

SimonJester wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:02 am
snackdog wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:05 pm
When in doubt, throw it Out! We keep a couple years only.
+1 Having had to go through a deceased relative's 40 years of paper work and determine what needed to be shredded and what needed to be kept, do your heirs a favor and clean up. It took WEEKS to shred everything and we still had three banker boxes full of stuff we kept.
I dread the day I have to go through my 97 year old father's paperwork. He has paper in closets going back to the 50s - close to 70 years worth.

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