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Record Keeping

>> Friday, March 9, 2012

It's time for me to organize and I am starting with my filing system. First, I need to know how long I should keep my ever growing and piling up files all over our bedroom. Google search to the rescue and I found Suze Orrman's post on her website about record keeping. Using her recommendations, I'm hoping to get rid of many documents that I have kept for ages. Thank goodness!

Financial Clutter, What To Keep And What To Get Rid Of By Suze Orman

Keep till warranty expires or can no longer return or exchange:
>Sales Receipts (Unless needed for tax purposes and then keep for 3 years)

What to keep for 1 month:
>ATM Printouts (When you balance your checkbook each month throw out the ATM receipts)

What to keep for 1 year:
>Paycheck Stubs (You can get rid of once you have compared to your W2 & annual social security statement)
>Utility Bills (You can throw out after one year, unless you're using these as a deduction like a home office --then you need to keep them for 3 years after you've filed that tax return)
>Cancelled Checks (Unless needed for tax purposes and then you need to keep for 3 years)
>Credit Card Receipts (Unless needed for tax purposes and then you need to keep for 3 years)
>Bank Statements (Unless needed for tax purposes and then you need to keep for 3 years)
>Quarterly Investment Statements (Hold on to until you get your annual statement)

What to keep for 3 years:
>Income Tax Returns (Please keep in mind that you can be audited by the IRS for no reason up to three years after you filed a tax return. If you omit 25% of your gross income that goes up to 6 years and if you don't file a tax return at all, there is no statute of limitations.)
>Medical Bills and Cancelled Insurance Policies
>Records of Selling a House (Documentation for Capital Gains Tax)
>Records of Selling a Stock (Documentation for Capital Gains Tax)
>Receipts, Cancelled Checks and other Documents that Support Income or a Deduction on your Tax Return (Keep 3 years from the date the return was filed or 2 years from the date the tax was paid -- which ever is later)
>Annual Investment Statement (Hold onto 3 years after you sell your investment.)

What to keep for 7 years:
>Records of Satisfied Loans

What to hold while active:
>Contracts
>Insurance Documents
>Stock Certificates
>Property Records
>Stock Records
>Records of Pensions and Retirement Plans
>Property Tax Records Disputed Bills (Keep the bill until the dispute is resolved)
>Home Improvement Records (Hold for at least 3 years after the due date for the tax return that includes the income or loss on the asset when it's sold)

Keep Forever:
>Marriage Licenses
>Birth Certificates
>Wills
>Adoption Papers
>Death Certificates
>Records of Paid Mortgages
These documents should be kept in a very safe place, like a safety deposit box.

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