How Long Should You Keep Paperwork?

One of the questions I hear most often is people wanting to know how long to keep paperwork. The answer is, “It depends.”
It depends upon whether the paperwork is tax related.
It depends upon whether you own a home, a business, a rental property.

It depends upon whose counsel you seek.

I’ve recently worked with someone who was keeping tax paperwork that was more than 20 years old, someone else who had kept outdated wills from a former spouse and yet another person who had every utility bill since 1990.

The start of a new year is a good time to look at what you are keeping and see what you can let go of.

Although there are differing opinions, most money managers will tell you that you don’t need to keep tax-related information more than 7 years. A lot of the papers that people keep could be discarded because they don’t have any impact on taxes at all.

If you own a home, you need to keep documents related to the purchase of the home, along with any documentation of improvements you have made. If you own a rental property, there are additional documents you need to retain. Business owners also have specific paperwork that they must be able to access.

If you have been married, divorced, changed your name, become a citizen, have a passport or own a car, you may need written proof. These documents should be kept in a safe in your home, where you can access them.

If you have questions about keeping specific paperwork, check with your lawyer or accountant.

Organized by Marcie: Getting you organized so you have time to do what you love to do!

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