Some financial documents should be retained indefinitely, while others can be shredded after a certain period of time. There are general guidelines that apply to everyone, but you may have special concerns regarding business documents or court paperwork, including bankruptcy filings. Err on the side of caution and consult a certified public accountant (CPA) before you shred potentially sensitive documents.
What to Keep Indefinitely
The documents you should retain indefinitely include each annual tax return, your vehicle titles, and pension and retirement records. You should also hold onto your deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale, year-end investment statements, wills and living wills, and real estate certificates.
What to Keep for Seven Years
After they are seven years old, you can discard bank statements, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and any receipts you’ve kept for tax purposes. If you have proof of charitable contributions for your tax returns, you can shred these after seven years. You can also discard cancelled checks and unemployment income stubs after seven years. Medical bills and claims, and disability records fall into this category as well.
What to Keep for One Year
There are a few documents that you can shred after retaining them for just one year. These include your checkbook ledgers and paycheck stubs. You can also discard expired insurance policies and your monthly mortgage statements after one year.
What to Keep for One to Three Months
It isn’t necessary to hold onto utility bills for too long. You can shred these after just one to three months. Sales receipts for minor purchases, ATM slips, and bank deposit slips also fall into this category.
THPK Certified Public Accountants is a full-service accounting firm that has been serving clients in Steamboat Springs, CO and throughout Yampa Valley for over 40 years. They offer services for individuals and businesses, including tax services. You can call their office at (970) 879-1787 to request an appointment.