Monday, April 12, 2010

Keeping Tax Records

Q - How long should I keep tax records?

A - There are many records you have that may help document items on your tax returns. You’ll need this documentation should the IRS select your return for examination.

Normally, tax records should be kept for three years.

Some documents — such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRA and business or rental property — should be kept longer. You should keep documents related to long lived assets for as long as you own the asset.

In most cases, the IRS does not require you to keep records in any special manner. Generally speaking, however, you should keep any and all documents that may have an impact on your federal tax return for at least three years beyond the date the tax return was originally due.

Records you should keep include bills, credit card and other receipts, invoices, mileage logs, canceled, imaged or substitute checks, proofs of payment, and any other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return.

For more information on what kinds of records to keep, see IRS Publication 552, Recordkeeping for Individuals, which is available at or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).