Readers ask: How Long Do I Have To Keep Tax Returns And Are Electronic Scans Ok?

Generally, the IRS recommends keeping copies of tax returns and supporting documents at least three years.

Are scanned copies of tax returns acceptable?

The IRS has always accepted physical receipts for audit and record-keeping purposes. As of 1997, the IRS accepts scanned and digital receipts as valid records for tax purposes. In other words, digital receipts are acceptable as long as you can deliver a copy of them to the IRS when necessary.

What records need to be kept for 7 years?

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.

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How long should you keep your tax returns before destroying them?

Typically, the IRS has 3 years after the due date of your return (or the date you file it) to initiate an audit, so you should plan to keep your tax returns and supporting documents for at least 3 years before shredding them.

How long should you keep your tax records in case of an audit?

The IRS recommends keeping returns and other tax documents for three years (or two years from when you paid the tax, whichever is later.) The IRS has a statute of limitations on conducting audits and it is limited to three years.

Can I keep tax records electronically?

These records can be prepared and stored electronically provided they can be reproduced at any time in a written form. For this reason we believe it is prudent to retain minutes and resolutions in written form. Companies are required to take reasonable precautions to protect records against damage and tampering.

Can I keep digital tax records?

While the IRS is OK with digital records, it reminds taxpayers that they must able to be reproduced “in a legible, readable format” and that retention requirements for paper records also be applied to digital records. Finally, digital files must be stored in a secure place.

Should you shred old tax returns?

With that timeframe, California residents should keep their state tax records for at least four years. What Should I Do with My Old Tax Returns? Once you have scanned your tax documents, make sure to dispose of them in a secure manner. At the very least, shred them before throwing them in the trash.

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What papers to save and what to throw away?

What Documents Can I Throw Away—and When?

  • Tax Returns. Old tax documents are probably the number one category of documents we’re asked about.
  • Bank Statements.
  • Explanation of Benefits (EOB) Forms.
  • Medical Bills.
  • Utility Bills.
  • Paycheck Stubs.
  • Credit Card Statements.
  • Wills and Estate Planning Documents.

How do I get rid of old tax returns?

The most common way to destroy sensitive documents is to shred them. Many stores offer paper shredding at a cost to you. Some of those businesses include The UPS Store, FedEx, Staples, and Office Depot. Sometimes, your financial institution will shred them.

Can I destroy 2013 tax returns?

That means you can now generally throw out records for the 2013 tax year if you filed the return for that year in April of 2014. Bear in mind that, in some cases, the statute of limitations extends beyond three years. And there’s no statute of limitations if you fail to file a tax return or file a fraudulent one.

How long should I keep credit card statements?

Credit Card Statements: Keep them for 60 days unless they include tax-related expenses. In these cases, keep them for at least three years. Pay Stubs: Match them to your W-2 once a year and then shred them. Utility Bills: Hold on to them for a maximum of one year.

Can the IRS go back more than 10 years?

As a general rule, there is a ten year statute of limitations on IRS collections. This means that the IRS can attempt to collect your unpaid taxes for up to ten years from the date they were assessed. Subject to some important exceptions, once the ten years are up, the IRS has to stop its collection efforts.

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How long should you keep tax returns for a business?

Keep business income tax returns and supporting documents for at least seven years from the tax year of the return. The IRS can audit your return and you can amend your return to claim additional credits for a period that varies from three to seven years from the date you first filed.

How long do tax records have to be kept in Australia?

How long to keep your records. Generally, you must keep your written evidence for five years from the date you lodge your tax return.

What papers should I keep and for how long?

To be on the safe side, McBride says to keep all tax records for at least seven years. Keep forever. Records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, Social Security cards, and military discharge papers should be kept indefinitely.

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