discard 2009 tax return documents?

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Nyc10036
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discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Nyc10036 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:31 am

I use a large storage box to store plastic file pocket envelopes with string tie closures - one per tax year.
The storage box is now full.

Should I discard everything for the 2009 tax year except the actual paper returns?

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Bogle7
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Probably yes

Post by Bogle7 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:36 am

Period of Limitations that apply to income tax returns
Keep records for 3 years if situations (4), (5), and (6) below do not apply to you.
Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return.
Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.
Keep records for 6 years if you do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return.
Keep records indefinitely if you do not file a return.
Keep records indefinitely if you file a fraudulent return.
Keep employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date that the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.
https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-bu ... ep-records

Perkunas
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Perkunas » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:40 am


sharukh
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by sharukh » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:41 am

If you do back door roth

Keep a good record of the conversion if you intend to withdraw before 60 years age

michaelingp
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by michaelingp » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:44 am

I would just scan the whole lot into your computer and not worry about it.

quantAndHold
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:46 am

When I was going through files last year, I found all of my tax returns back to the 80’s. They were hilarious to read.

I would keep them as a little time capsule to your financial life back then.

Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: Probably yes

Post by Nyc10036 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:59 am

Bogle7 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:36 am

Keep records indefinitely if you file a fraudulent return.
I don't understand about "fraudulent".
I can only speak for myself, but I do not knowingly file a fraudulent return.

What does the IRS consider to be fraudulent?
Most people work and receive W-2s and 1099s.

Are they talking mostly about cash businesses and failing to report the income?

trevorshhh
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by trevorshhh » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:00 pm

sharukh wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:41 am
If you do back door roth

Keep a good record of the conversion if you intend to withdraw before 60 years age
Can you expand on "why"?
"Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land." -Ecclesiastes 11:2 NIV

cas
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by cas » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:15 pm

Threads on bogleheads pop up fairly frequently where old (sometimes very old) tax returns are worth their weight in gold.

Most common situations I see are things like
  • Someone has to reconstruct cost basis for an uncovered stock or mutual fund, either where the records on previous history (sales, purchases, corporate actions like mergers/spin-offs) are missing or where records for the dividend reinvestment that has been going on for the last 40 or 50 years are missing. (Given that there is currently a step up in basis at death for investments, this record-keeping problem disappears at death and executors don't have to deal with it. Trustees/atty-in-fact/authorized-agents for people dealing with someone with dementia (e.g. parent) often do, though.)
  • Someone needs to reconstruct whether there were ever non-deductible contributions to a tIRA and whether Form 8606 was filed properly in various specific years. (Most common situation seen on bogleheads is someone trying to deal with their own ignorant-in-bygone-years self. However, since there is no step up in basis for tIRAs at death, this problem potentially lands in the lap of executors and people who inherit tIRAs. And a really thorough treatment (which I suspect is vanishingly rare), would be proving a negative - that a decedent never made any non-deductible contributions to a tIRA.)
I think I've seen someone ( grabiner ?) write about decades-old tax returns saving his bacon with some issue involving proving that 401k contributions had or had not already been taxed in some state with odd laws governing taxation of contributions/distributions to/from 401ks. My memory could be faulty though.

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friar1610
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by friar1610 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:19 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:46 am
When I was going through files last year, I found all of my tax returns back to the 80’s. They were hilarious to read.

I would keep them as a little time capsule to your financial life back then.


I agree. I have all my basic returns since I graduated from college, a mere 52 1/2 years ago. I've long since thrown away all the supporting material but still have all the Form 1040s. Looking at them occasionally is an interesting walk down memory lane. As for the more recent ones, I keep the whole package for 5 years or so.
Friar1610

aristotelian
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Re: Probably yes

Post by aristotelian » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:22 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:59 am
Bogle7 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:36 am

Keep records indefinitely if you file a fraudulent return.
I don't understand about "fraudulent".
I can only speak for myself, but I do not knowingly file a fraudulent return.

What does the IRS consider to be fraudulent?
Most people work and receive W-2s and 1099s.

Are they talking mostly about cash businesses and failing to report the income?
Lol, if you were to knowingly file a fraudulent return, wouldn't you want to get rid of the records?

TravelGeek
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:38 pm

michaelingp wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:44 am
I would just scan the whole lot into your computer and not worry about it.
One of my early retirement projects/goals :)

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Stinky
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Stinky » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:41 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:46 am
When I was going through files last year, I found all of my tax returns back to the 80’s. They were hilarious to read.

I would keep them as a little time capsule to your financial life back then.
I have paper copies back to the first return I filed when I was in high school. 1968 tax year.

I have a big drawer that I throw such things into. Someday, when DW and I downsize, the paper copies will be gone.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

michaeljc70
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:13 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:38 pm
michaelingp wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:44 am
I would just scan the whole lot into your computer and not worry about it.
One of my early retirement projects/goals :)
I have been scanning in all my tax stuff for years. No need to ever really delete them as they take up very little space on my hard drive. I don't keep anything paper unless it is for sentimental reasons or government mandated (birth certificate, auto title, etc).

Northern Flicker
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Northern Flicker » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:25 pm

If you own rental income property it is a good idea to save returns going back to the year of purchase until the return for the year of sale ages out of your archive.
Index fund investor since 1987.

Katietsu
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Katietsu » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:36 pm

I would save the actual return and at least the primary supporting documents forever. The problem is most people don’t know what they might need until they need it. Real life examples:
-At 40, you have an emergency. You withdraw from your Roth. You need to the records of those contributions you made in your twenties. In 2008-2009, while married you tax loss harvested $80,000. Your spouse dies in December 2018. You still have $70,000 in capital loss carryover. Most was yours but you no longer have the records to prove it. (Surviving spouses don’t not get to use capital losses that belonged to the deceased spouse even after decades of joint returns.)
-You think you filed your taxes. Eight years later the IRS tries to collect for taxes. The IRS says you did not file so there is no statute of limitations. If you had your records, they would probably owe you a refund. Because you don’t, you owe tgg BF em thousands.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:37 pm

friar1610 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:19 pm
I agree. I have all my basic returns since I graduated from college, a mere 52 1/2 years ago. I've long since thrown away all the supporting material but still have all the Form 1040s.
Sounds like me (50 years ago), except I still have everything. I am going to thin them out pretty soon, throwing away the worksheets and instruction booklets, but saving the actual returns and all direct supporting documents like W2s and 1099s.

About six years ago I sold ten or twelve utility holdings bought in the 1980s. I had no record of the purchases, so I created a spreadsheet with the first year dividends from each holding appeared in my old tax records and the July 1 market value for each stock for the year its dividends appeared. The IRS must have been OK with that, since they never sent me any type of inquiry letter.
Last edited by fourwheelcycle on Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JohnFiscal
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by JohnFiscal » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:41 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:31 am
I use a large storage box to store plastic file pocket envelopes with string tie closures - one per tax year.
The storage box is now full.

Should I discard everything for the 2009 tax year except the actual paper returns?
Probably wise to check the earnings records that the Social Security Admin has for you before destroying any records. In addition to the other needs mentioned previously.

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FIREchief
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:44 pm

Beyond the IRS deadline (3 years from due date including extensions), I just keep a paper copy of the actual return along with W-2's, 1099's and other such forms. Any other backup data (charitable receipts, etc.) just gets shredded. When we downsized last year, I went through boxes and boxes of old records, and about 90% of the tax stuff went away (along with about 99% of all other historical records).
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Watty
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Watty » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:47 pm

cas wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:15 pm
Threads on bogleheads pop up fairly frequently where old (sometimes very old) tax returns are worth their weight in gold.
Another situation can be when there is an error in your Social Security earning history that needs to be corrected. Having an old W2 can really help with that so you may want to keep the old W2s or at least a scan of them basically forever.

The same is true of pension calculations if you are eligible for one.

I don't know how far back they look when you are getting a security clearance.

montanagirl
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Re: Probably yes

Post by montanagirl » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:50 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:59 am
Bogle7 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:36 am

Keep records indefinitely if you file a fraudulent return.
I don't understand about "fraudulent".
I can only speak for myself, but I do not knowingly file a fraudulent return.

What does the IRS consider to be fraudulent?
Most people work and receive W-2s and 1099s.

Are they talking mostly about cash businesses and failing to report the income?
Phony expenses and auto records are big ones.

knightrider
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by knightrider » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:54 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:36 pm
I would save the actual return and at least the primary supporting documents forever. The problem is most people don’t know what they might need until they need it. Real life examples:
-At 40, you have an emergency. You withdraw from your Roth. You need to the records of those contributions you made in your twenties. In 2008-2009, while married you tax loss harvested $80,000. Your spouse dies in December 2018. You still have $70,000 in capital loss carryover. Most was yours but you no longer have the records to prove it. (Surviving spouses don’t not get to use capital losses that belonged to the deceased spouse even after decades of joint returns.)
-You think you filed your taxes. Eight years later the IRS tries to collect for taxes. The IRS says you did not file so there is no statute of limitations. If you had your records, they would probably owe you a refund. Because you don’t, you owe tgg BF em thousands.
The big question is has the IRS ever audited for these scenarios AND if so have they ruled against you because of insufficient records? My hunch tells me never...

tesuzuki2002
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:29 pm

michaelingp wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:44 am
I would just scan the whole lot into your computer and not worry about it.
+ 1 THIS! :sharebeer

I keep hard copies for 6 years... I have Scans of everything and receipts... Double backed up. I love using the 7 year old return as fire starter!

ddunca1944
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by ddunca1944 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:28 pm

I know we don't have to keep old tax returns, but what I do is save the return as a pdf and store it on a thumbdrive. I keep paper copies for 7
years then shred them. I have almost 20 years' tax returns on one thumb drive that I keep with the paper returns.

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Nyc10036
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Nyc10036 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:44 pm

Which scanner would be recommended for scanning receipts?

.

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samsoes
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by samsoes » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:45 pm

trevorshhh wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:00 pm
sharukh wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:41 am
If you do back door roth

Keep a good record of the conversion if you intend to withdraw before 60 years age
Can you expand on "why"?
If you withdraw from a Roth before age 59.5, you can only remove your contributions without penalty. Forms 5498 received from year to year substantiate this contribution basis. It gets more complicated with conversions (separate 5-year clocks, etc.). Keep your records of Roth contributions and Roth conversions, backdoor or otherwise.
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

random_walker_77
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by random_walker_77 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:59 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:44 pm
Which scanner would be recommended for scanning receipts?

.
For just receipts, it'd probably just as fast/easy to use your phone. If you're on Android, I'm partial to the free clear scan app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... r&hl=en_US

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Nyc10036
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Nyc10036 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:38 pm

random_walker_77 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:59 pm
Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:44 pm
Which scanner would be recommended for scanning receipts?

.
For just receipts, it'd probably just as fast/easy to use your phone. If you're on Android, I'm partial to the free clear scan app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... r&hl=en_US
wow!!!!!

How do you get the PDFs to your PC? Bluetooth?

random_walker_77
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by random_walker_77 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:59 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:38 pm
random_walker_77 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:59 pm
Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:44 pm
Which scanner would be recommended for scanning receipts?

.
For just receipts, it'd probably just as fast/easy to use your phone. If you're on Android, I'm partial to the free clear scan app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... r&hl=en_US
wow!!!!!

How do you get the PDFs to your PC? Bluetooth?
I've never used bluetooth, though now I see that as an option. Usually, I just put it on google drive, gmail it, or connect via usb to move the document. I can't say I've ever tried to transfer files via bluetooth before...

As an aside, do note that a 8.5x11" document scanned at 300dpi is just under 8.5 megapixels (8.5*300*11*300). Almost all phones have higher resolution cameras, so the results aren't bad. There's going to be some geometric distortion so straight lines aren't perfect. So it's not as good as a flatbed scanner, but it's convenient, the results are decent, and the price is certainly right.

bampf
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by bampf » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:10 pm

In general you don't want records hanging around after their useful life. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/busi ... 8/06_wood/

dukeblue219
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by dukeblue219 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:19 pm

ddunca1944 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:28 pm
I know we don't have to keep old tax returns, but what I do is save the return as a pdf and store it on a thumbdrive. I keep paper copies for 7
years then shred them. I have almost 20 years' tax returns on one thumb drive that I keep with the paper returns.
Do you have other backups? Thumb drives are not designed as a backup medium. They are cheaply made and fail without warning, usually catastrophically. I cringe when I hear of people storing their family photos or scanned records on a thumb drive.

An off site backup or three that's regularly refreshed is the only way to go.

dukeblue219
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by dukeblue219 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:22 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:38 pm
random_walker_77 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:59 pm
Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:44 pm
Which scanner would be recommended for scanning receipts?

.
For just receipts, it'd probably just as fast/easy to use your phone. If you're on Android, I'm partial to the free clear scan app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... r&hl=en_US
wow!!!!!

How do you get the PDFs to your PC? Bluetooth?
Just email them to yourself if you want. I use the built in document scanner in the Dropbox app on my phone so my scans go straight to Dropbox (caveats about security of "the cloud" apply here). Periodically I copy them onto my backup drive and rotate with a drive I keep at work (my off-site backup).

Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Nyc10036 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:47 pm

bampf wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:10 pm
In general you don't want records hanging around after their useful life. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/busi ... 8/06_wood/
I do not see where in the linked article that keeping records too long is bad.

.

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whodidntante
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:26 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:38 pm
michaelingp wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:44 am
I would just scan the whole lot into your computer and not worry about it.
One of my early retirement projects/goals :)
What will you do on day 2 of your retirement? :P

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AerialWombat
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by AerialWombat » Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:30 am

I didn’t realize there were still people that kept paper copies of records like this. I haven’t even generated a paper return for myself in over a decade.

Scan everything, backup in triplicate, and destroy the paper — even for current year stuff.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

bampf
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by bampf » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:26 am

Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:47 pm
bampf wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:10 pm
In general you don't want records hanging around after their useful life. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/busi ... 8/06_wood/
I do not see where in the linked article that keeping records too long is bad.

.
The article is to indicate the "useful life" of a record from the IRS perspective. If you think you should hang onto records after their useful life I would like to understand why... edited a bit for clarity and share a bit of information....

"... As for record retention, many people feel safe about destroying receipts and back-up data after six or seven years; but never destroy old tax returns. In addition, do not destroy old receipts if they relate to basis in an asset. For example, receipts for home remodeling 15 years ago are still relevant, as long as you own the house. You may need to prove your basis when you later sell it, and you will want to claim a basis increase for the remodeling 15 years back. For all these reasons, be careful and keep good records."

Topic Author
Nyc10036
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Nyc10036 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:37 am

bampf wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:26 am
The article is to indicate the "useful life" of a record from the IRS perspective. If you think you should hang onto records after their useful life I would like to understand why... edited a bit for clarity and share a bit of information....

"... As for record retention, many people feel safe about destroying receipts and back-up data after six or seven years; but never destroy old tax returns. In addition, do not destroy old receipts if they relate to basis in an asset. For example, receipts for home remodeling 15 years ago are still relevant, as long as you own the house. You may need to prove your basis when you later sell it, and you will want to claim a basis increase for the remodeling 15 years back. For all these reasons, be careful and keep good records."
Doesn't the need to prove basis means I have to keep all year-end-statements for all non-tax-deferred accounts I have ever held?
Buy fund #1 in 1990; sell fund #1 in 1993 to buy fund #2 in 1993, sell fund #2 to buy fund #3 in 2000, and so forth with dividend re-investments thrown in.
This was me in the old days.
If so, I am in trouble.

KingRiggs
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by KingRiggs » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:36 am

Nyc10036 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:44 pm
Which scanner would be recommended for scanning receipts?

.
Best purchase I ever made for my home office was the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. It’s a little pricy up front, but has allowed me to easily digitize all of my old paper records. Combine it with Evernote or a cloud-based backup and you never need to retain another receipt or piece of paper.
Advice = noun | Advise = verb | | Roth, not ROTH

wrongfunds
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by wrongfunds » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:49 pm

I have my older tax returns on mini diskettes. Am I in trouble?

Seriously, I do have them on home burnt CDs. I am not sure if they are even readable now or not. Most of my laptops don't have CD drives.

If you had saved those records on 8 inch floppy disks (you do remember them, don't you?) what would you do?

Think forward 50 years and wonder how you will be able to read your thumb drives then.

On the other hand, I am still able to read the paper copies of the tax returns those were filed decades ago.

michaelingp
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by michaelingp » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:25 pm

KingRiggs wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:36 am

Best purchase I ever made for my home office was the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. It’s a little pricy up front, but has allowed me to easily digitize all of my old paper records. Combine it with Evernote or a cloud-based backup and you never need to retain another receipt or piece of paper.
Agreed! But they are pricey, so it's a good purchase for someone who is going to scan everything from now on. In my house, anything important that comes in on paper (even some Home Depot receipts) is immediately scanned, then the paper recycled. Just takes a minute. If you get one, make sure to change the preferences to OCR all the pages of every document. On a modern computer this adds zero time to the scanning process, but allows you to search all the text in the docs. Mine is almost seven years old and still works perfectly, so that somewhat mitigates the price issue.

shess
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by shess » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:40 pm

wrongfunds wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:49 pm
I have my older tax returns on mini diskettes. Am I in trouble?

Seriously, I do have them on home burnt CDs. I am not sure if they are even readable now or not. Most of my laptops don't have CD drives.

If you had saved those records on 8 inch floppy disks (you do remember them, don't you?) what would you do?

Think forward 50 years and wonder how you will be able to read your thumb drives then.
There's no point to keeping electronic documents on contemporary electronic media. Once Upon A Time, I kept things like photos and videos on CD-R discs, but at some point hard drives got big enough that I just keep a big hard drive full of it. With an on-site mirror, and an offsite mirror, and a mirror in the cloud. If any of the backups goes south or develops bitrot, I can reconstitute it from one of the others.

There still is a danger that the file formats themselves will become unreadable. So I tend to keep things in things like PDF files, which are at least intended to work for the long term. Sometimes I wonder about archiving Linux VMs which can read those PDFs, just in case.

Magruder
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Magruder » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:55 pm

I have all of my returns dating back to 1958 when I became a 14 year old dishwasher and started to developed a work ethic washing dishes and peeling potatoes!! I also have many of my father's returns from the 1930's and 40's, and they're "interesting" to look at. No supporting documents have been saved, tho!

Gonna save the whole bundle for my kids to chuckle about someday!

retiredjg
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by retiredjg » Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:10 pm

Unless you are older than 59.5, I would not throw out the old stuff willy nilly. I'd go through it all and keep everything that has anything to do with how money got into my Roth IRA. Those records can be hard to re-create and would be needed if you need to withdraw money from Roth IRA prior to age 59.5 (and the first contribution to Roth being more than 5 tax years....)

Halicar
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by Halicar » Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:21 pm

wrongfunds wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:49 pm
I have my older tax returns on mini diskettes. Am I in trouble?

Seriously, I do have them on home burnt CDs. I am not sure if they are even readable now or not. Most of my laptops don't have CD drives.

If you had saved those records on 8 inch floppy disks (you do remember them, don't you?) what would you do?

Think forward 50 years and wonder how you will be able to read your thumb drives then.

On the other hand, I am still able to read the paper copies of the tax returns those were filed decades ago.
People forget that not only is paper a technology, it's a very old technology, which means that it's likely to be around much longer than newer technology.

michaelingp
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:46 pm

Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by michaelingp » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:06 am

wrongfunds wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:49 pm
I have my older tax returns on mini diskettes. Am I in trouble?

Seriously, I do have them on home burnt CDs. I am not sure if they are even readable now or not. Most of my laptops don't have CD drives.

If you had saved those records on 8 inch floppy disks (you do remember them, don't you?) what would you do?

Think forward 50 years and wonder how you will be able to read your thumb drives then.

On the other hand, I am still able to read the paper copies of the tax returns those were filed decades ago.
It's not really that difficult to keep electronic records readable, but you do need to stay aware. There are usually a few years (or a decade) over which a format will be phased out. For example, right now, most computers can't read CD's. But external CD readers are easy to find. Eventually, they will get harder to find, and you need to use that time to convert your CD's to another format (I agree with another poster that on-line disk (spinning or not) and the cloud is the best place). File formats are a little more difficult, but the same thing applies. For example, many versions of Microsoft Office don't have Publisher. When I saw this was happening I searched my files for Publisher files and converted the important ones to PDF. If you have important Wordperfect or Lotus 123 files, this is definitely the time to convert them to something else.

I agree with others that thumb drives are NOT a storage medium. They are good for transferring between computers, and in digital frames, but if you have an important file that is only stored on one thumb drive, keep your fingers crossed all the time.

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FIREchief
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:55 pm

This is a good thread. It got me thinking about the next level of detail. Here's a clay Pidgeon. Fire away!!

Skinny archival tax files (to be kept beyond three years from the due date – including extensions – for my IRS tax returns):

Retain:
Paper signed copy of all returns filed
Forms W2
Forms 1099
Forms 5498 (including 5498-SA for HSAs)
HSA disbursement records (summary information, not to include paper receipts)
Charity acknowledgements for significant gifts (e.g. in excess of $1000)
Tax payment receipts (including estimated tax payments)
Certified mailing receipts
Printout of spreadsheet (or other) used to calculate form entries and taxes due

Dispose:
Property tax receipts
Basis records for any non-covered shares (or other capital assets) sold
Charity acknowledgements for any minor gifts exceeding the IRS threshold and any other misc. charity receipts
Vehicle registration receipts (states where portion is based upon vehicle value)
Pay stubs
Sales tax records (if applicable)
Detailed medical receipts

Thoughts??
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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FIREchief
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Re: discard 2009 tax return documents?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:57 pm

I appreciate the inputs on flash drives, but I think they're a great tool if not allowed to be a single point of failure. If a person retains the files on a hard drive, with redundant flash drive backup (e.g. one remote, one local), then the chances of total data loss are extremely unlikely.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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