How long do you keep you files?

So the electricity bill comes. I pay it and stick it in a file.

My bank statements get stuck in a file.

My copies of old tax returns are in a file.

How long do you keep stuff before you throw it out?

2 year old gas bills? 5 year old state income tax returns? Paid medical bills from 3 years ago?

  • All tax returns for seven years. (Our accountant binds everything into a little booklet so they’re sickeningly easy to file.)
  • Credit card statements for seven years.
  • Utility bills until the end of the next calendar year. (In January of '03 I got rid of all of my '01 bills.)
  • Loan statements (mortgage, auto loan, etc.) until the loans are paid off plus seven years (to correspond with tax records, if there were tax implications).
  • Other important papers for as long as they’re pertinent, plus two years, 'cuz I’m a bit anal like that.

I keep reciepts for expensive things that might break in a bag.
One day I will lose the bag and every item having a reciept in the bag will break all at once.


You are scaring me, you are TOO organized!

Tax returns for seven years.

Utility, credit card bills, statements, only 'til the next billing cycle. Any changes are reflected in the next cycle so I shred the last one after I check the current one. Keeps me from being buried in paper.

I only keep Xmas receipts for a month or so.

My father is a pack-rat of the highest order and you can barely move in his place. For example, he’s kept every tax return from time he started working. (He’ll be 65 next year.) I have no idea why.

I box up all the records )financial & otherwise) for each year and stick 'em in the garage. I don’t throw anything away for at least 7 years. It doesn’t take up that much room (1 bankers box per year) and it would suck if I needed something that I had shredded.

Wow. You folks are GOOOOOD! I don’t save any bills. My checks are proof I paid it. (and I don’t store those either. The bank has 'em). I leave it up to those companies to do their own fucking record keeping!

I keep bank statements forever, and I have 15 years worth of tax returns (but H&R Block will hang on to those as well).

Minimal paperwork = higher likelihood that Kalhoun won’t go postal!

From the IRS: “Keep a copy of your tax return… until the statute of limitations runs out for that return. Usually, this is 3 years from the date the return was filed…”

I’m not sure what could trigger a longer statute of limitations, but I believe it’s limited to cases of substantial tax fraud (i.e., not just situations where you claimed a deduction you weren’t entitled to, or forgot to report some interest you earned, but more like situations where you were actively hiding big chunks of your income).

My mother has been sorting thru paperwork since my dad died last October. Apparently he was more of a packrat than we realized. She found credit card statements from the early 90s. She’s been doing a lot of shredding.

I need to clear out some of my old stuff too, like old checkbook duplicates. I don’t think checks I wrote 4 years ago will come back to haunt me any time.

I pretty much throw everything paper away… I pay for 95% of everything I buy with my debit card. Maybe 4% of everything else with my credit card… and the remaining with cash. Since the bank keeps electronic recordings of all these transactions… what’s the point of keeping the paper? I can logon any time and see virtually everything I’ve done instantly. Plus it’s searchable… much easier than digging through a stack of paper.

I even keep my tax return files electronically. I had some paper ones from 3-4 years ago but I tossed them. I figure if the IRS really wants to audit a single middle class male who doesn’t make tons of money… then let them do the paperwork :o

How about pay stubs? I didn’t used to keep them at all, but my supervisor said something about having to present 3 yrs worth to get a house loan, so I’ve been saving them for a year and a half. Have I been taken?

interface, call a bank or mortgage broker to find out for sure about that. Different banks may want different proof of earnings.

We had to have T4’s (Canadian record of annual earnings, the ones that go to the govt. at tax time) for three years and 1 (one) pay stub.

^5 to you tlw

It’s so nice to know there are other retentive people out there in Dopeland like me.

Advice to lobsang is to put all warranty papers for stuff you’ve bought into sub category files such as major appliances, small electric, power tools, and so forth. Then when the device takes a dirt nap, you can pluck out the papers proving that the warranty expired last month.