To Shred or Not to Shred That is the Question

With 2010 tax season in full swing you  may not know what to keep and what not to keep and for how long you should keep some documents.  Here are just a few helpful tips on what you should be keeping.

Tax Returns   7 years of them

Keep tax returns and all supporting tax documents including w-2s, 1099’s, property tax info (if you own) bank statements, mortgage interest statements, cancelled checks, receipts, home purchase’s, home improvement information.

Wow that sound like a lot of stuff doesn’t it?  My suggestion would be to get as much of that in electronic form as possible and put it on a disk.  That way you don’t have hundreds of loose papers. Also putting it in disk form will make it easier to put in a fireproof safe for keeping.

Paycheck Stubs       1 year

Shred them after you have matched the info with your w-2.  You should always double-check the numbers, after all people do make mistakes.

Home Ownership

Mortgage Documents   10 years after the property has sold

Mortgage statements   7 years after the property has sold

Repair bills/contracts    10 years


Home         5 years

Life    life of the policy + 3 years

Medical     5 years


IRA Contributions   Permanently

401K Annual Summaries     Keep until you close the account

Investment Statements     7 years after last account is sold


Adoption/Guardianship papers

Birth Certificates

Citizenship/Naturalization Papers

Heath/Immunization Records


Marriage Certificates/divorce Decree

pension Plan Documents

veteran Papers


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