View Full Version : How long should I keep financial records?

01-14-2000, 11:32 PM
I've just got to get organized! I have boxes and piles of bank statements, copies of bills and credit card statements, taxes, etc. How long do I need to hang on to any of this stuff?

01-14-2000, 11:47 PM
I've been saving financial stuff for years, and have never needed any of it. I'm about to chuck those shoeboxes and get some closet space freed up.

Just watch -- I'll get audited or something.

I think it depends on what kinds of records you're talking about. Keep real property transaction stuff forever, deeds, etc. And it depends on who you are. If you have your own business or if you're self-employed, you've got more to worry about.

I toss cancelled checks for bills as soon as I get the next bill and can see that the account's okay.

I keep receipts for major appliances and stuff until the warranty has expired. I keep receipts for little things until I know it's not defective.

Keep receipts for collectibles forever.

01-14-2000, 11:49 PM
I think the IRS can go back as far as seven years. So keep all your tax info and supporting documentation that long. For credit card statements and financial information like bank statements three years should be plenty. Mortgage and car loan paperwork should be kept for the duration of the loan. Utility bills and the like just one year.

That's what we do and it has worked ok so far.

"To do her justice, I can't see that she could have found anything nastier to say if she'd thought it out with both hands for a fortnight."
Dorothy L. Sayers
Busman's Honeymoon

Northern Piper
01-15-2000, 12:23 AM
I keep bank statements, cancelled cheques, credit card bills for one year; when I get the February 2000 ones, I'll toss the February 1999 ones. Every so often, I need to refer back.

Bank statements showing loans and mortgages have been paid off and the account is nil, I keep forever - just in case, and for encouragement for other things I'm still paying - "you can do it!!," etc.

Usual rule for tax records is 7 years, especially if you're self-employed. And not just financial records, but supporting docs.

For example, a friend of mine got audited, and they wanted to know if certain travel was a business expense, what it was for, etc.

It was a few years back, and he couldn't remember the details, since he travels a lot on both business and pleasure. (I should have his life.) So he went to get his day-timers, that would have the travel plans, client names, etc. - and found that he had thrown his old day-timers out because he didn't think he'd ever need them. Bummer.

and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel to toe