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How Long Should I Keep My Important Documents?

We are frequently asked how long our clients should retain their personal documents. What follows is a brief list of the type of document and how long we suggest that you keep them.

What How Long to Keep
   
Tax returns (including receipts and supporting documents) Up to six full years
IRA and other retirement plan contribution records   Permanently
Investment and real estate records Seven years after you sell
Bank statements and checks One month to seven years, depending on whether your bank has them available online
Credit card statements and bills for non-deductible items Shred immediately after the next statement arrives
Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement Until you start receiving Social Security benefits
Pay stubs Until the end of the year
Insurance policies Until they expire-except for liability policies with "occurrence" coverage
Receipts  
A)  Day-to-day debit/credit Shred after confirming the amount charged is correct
B)  Big-ticket item Keep with other purchase documentation for proof of value in case of loss or damage
C)  Charitable donations Store and keep for tax-filing purposes

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