View Full Version : Record retention
10-19-2002, 09:42 PM
I recently moved out of my parents' house and into an apartment. Storage space is now at a premium for me. (I'm sure that plenty of you can relate.) I've done a pretty good job at clearing out my useless junk and clutter, with one glaring exception:
my filing cabinet
I'm afraid to throw away any of my old documents. How long should I hang onto the following pieces of paper?
credit card statements
old paycheck stubs
income tax forms, W4's, and related crappola
10-19-2002, 10:00 PM
I believe the general guidline is seven years. I'd consult a legal site for specifics.
10-19-2002, 10:01 PM
Sorry. Forgot to add that seven years is a general statute of limitations. I helped clean out an old series of reciepts from the summer of 1994 in 2001 once for my boss, who said that was how long he had to keep paper records of everything.
10-19-2002, 11:36 PM
And don't throw them away. Shred them.
10-20-2002, 08:34 AM
From personal experience with a couple of different governmental agencies (IRS being one of them) and credit reporting places (vict...er, customer & employee), here's what I go with now:
tax-related documents: keep all forever
credit card statements: keep until the charged item's warranty expires. (Yes, I know it's a pain because of more than one warrantied item on the statement, but some stuff is expensive and I'd rather have someone else pay to replace it if it conks out.)
Bank statements: three years, except for the final statement of the year: consider a tax-related document. You might decide for 5, 7, or even 10.
One I've never used and hope to never use: bankruptcy declaration. Keep forever.
Any court order for any purpose you've had in or against your favour: keep forever.
Military separation/discharge papers: keep forever.
Final military Leave & Earning Statement (LES): keep forever.
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