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NTA Blog: Don’t Let Delays in IRS Processing Impact Your Advance Payments of the Premium Tax Credit to Help Pay for Your Health Insurance

Subscribe to the NTA’s Blog and receive updates on the latest blog posts from National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins. Additional blogs can be found at www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/blog. ...

Blog de la NTA: No permita que las demoras en el procesamiento del IRS afecten sus pagos anticipados del crédito tributario de prima para ayudarlo a pagar su seguro médico

Suscríbase al Blog de la NTA y reciba actualizaciones sobre las últimas publicaciones del blog de la Defensora Nacional del Contribuyente Erin M. Collins. Se pueden encontrar blogs a...

TAS Tax Tip: Is the Person at Your Door Really From the IRS?

In certain situations, the IRS may send an employee out to your residence or place of business to collect past due taxes or conduct an audit of your return. With in-person scams continuing to take...

November 10 is National EIP Registration Day: Millions of Americans still need to register no later than November 21 to get an Economic Impact Payment

Did you miss the deadline to register online for the Economic Impact Payment? You may still be eligible to receive a payment in 2021 if: You did not register online, by mail and did not get a pa...

TAS Tax Tip: Renew Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers before they expire

Earlier this year, the IRS issued a reminder to certain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) holders whose ITINs expire on December 31, 2020. An individual taxpayer’s failure to ...

Blog de la NTA: ¿Cuáles son las consecuencias tributarias para los padres y trabajadores contratados para ayudar con el aprendizaje o el cuidado de niños? a distancia

Suscríbase al Blog de la NTA y reciba actualizaciones sobre las últimas publicaciones del blog de la Defensora Nacional del Contribuyente Erin M. Collins. Se pueden encontrar blogs a...

TAS Tax Tip: Taxpayers not normally required to file should register for an Economic Impact Payment by November 21, 2020

Did you miss the deadline to register online for the Economic Impact Payment? You may still be eligible to receive a payment in 2021 if: You did not register online, by mail and did not get a pa...

NTA Blog: What are the tax consequences for parents and workers hired to help with remote learning or childcare?

Subscribe to the NTA’s Blog and receive updates on the latest blog posts from National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins. Additional blogs can be found at www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/blog. ...

TAS Tax Tip: 2020 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum Webinars Available for CPE Credit

Although the 2020 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums could not be held in person this year, the Forums proceeded virtually. You can still earn continuing professional education (CPE) credits for many of the...

TAS Tax Tip: Newly expanded ‘Closing a Business’ information provides step-by-step actions

Closing your business can be a difficult and challenging task. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) partnered with IRS to expand its Closing a Business page to help business owners understand the sp...

Retention Guide

Storing tax records: How long is long enough?

April 15 has come and gone and another year of tax forms and shoeboxes full of receipts is behind us. But what should be done with those documents after your check or refund request is in the mail?

Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. This is called the "three-year law" and leads many people to believe they're safe provided they retain their documents for this period of time.

However, if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists.To be safe, use the following guidelines.

Business Records To Keep... Personal Records To Keep...
1 Year 1 Year
3 Years 3 Years
6 Years 6 Years
Forever Forever
Special Circumstances

Business Documents To Keep For One Year

  • Correspondence with Customers and Vendors
  • Duplicate Deposit Slips
  • Purchase Orders (other than Purchasing Department copy)
  • Receiving Sheets
  • Requisitions
  • Stenographer's Notebooks
  • Stockroom Withdrawal Forms

Business Documents To Keep For Three Years

  • Employee Personnel Records (after termination)
  • Employment Applications
  • Expired Insurance Policies
  • General Correspondence
  • Internal Audit Reports
  • Internal Reports
  • Petty Cash Vouchers
  • Physical Inventory Tags
  • Savings Bond Registration Records of Employees
  • Time Cards For Hourly Employees

Business Documents To Keep For Six Years

  • Accident Reports, Claims
  • Accounts Payable Ledgers and Schedules
  • Accounts Receivable Ledgers and Schedules
  • Bank Statements and Reconciliations
  • Cancelled Checks
  • Cancelled Stock and Bond Certificates
  • Employment Tax Records
  • Expense Analysis and Expense Distribution Schedules
  • Expired Contracts, Leases
  • Expired Option Records
  • Inventories of Products, Materials, Supplies
  • Invoices to Customers
  • Notes Receivable Ledgers, Schedules
  • Payroll Records and Summaries, including payment to pensioners
  • Plant Cost Ledgers
  • Purchasing Department Copies of Purchase Orders
  • Records related to net operating losses (NOL's)
  • Sales Records
  • Subsidiary Ledgers
  • Time Books
  • Travel and Entertainment Records
  • Vouchers for Payments to Vendors, Employees, etc.
  • Voucher Register, Schedules

Business Records To Keep Forever

While federal guidelines do not require you to keep tax records "forever," in many cases there will be other reasons you'll want to retain these documents indefinitely.

  • Audit Reports from CPAs/Accountants
  • Cancelled Checks for Important Payments (especially tax payments)
  • Cash Books, Charts of Accounts
  • Contracts, Leases Currently in Effect
  • Corporate Documents (incorporation, charter, by-laws, etc.)
  • Documents substantiating fixed asset additions
  • Deeds
  • Depreciation Schedules
  • Financial Statements (Year End)
  • General and Private Ledgers, Year End Trial Balances
  • Insurance Records, Current Accident Reports, Claims, Policies
  • Investment Trade Confirmations
  • IRS Revenue Agent Reports
  • Journals
  • Legal Records, Correspondence and Other Important Matters
  • Minutes Books of Directors and Stockholders
  • Mortgages, Bills of Sale
  • Property Appraisals by Outside Appraisers
  • Property Records
  • Retirement and Pension Records
  • Tax Returns and Worksheets
  • Trademark and Patent Registrations

Personal Documents To Keep For One Year

While it's important to keep year-end mutual fund and IRA contribution statements forever, you don't have to save monthly and quarterly statements once the year-end statement has arrived.

Personal Documents To Keep For Three Years

  • Credit Card Statements
  • Medical Bills (in case of insurance disputes)
  • Utility Records
  • Expired Insurance Policies

Personal Documents To Keep For Six Years

  • Supporting Documents For Tax Returns
  • Accident Reports and Claims
  • Medical Bills (if tax-related)
  • Sales Receipts
  • Wage Garnishments
  • Other Tax-Related Bills

Personal Records To Keep Forever

  • CPA Audit Reports
  • Legal Records
  • Important Correspondence
  • Income Tax Returns
  • Income Tax Payment Checks
  • Property Records / Improvement Receipts (or six years after property sold)
  • Investment Trade Confirmations
  • Retirement and Pension Records (Forms 5448, 1099-R and 8606 until all distributions are made from your IRA or other qualified plan)

Special Circumstances

  • Car Records (keep until the car is sold)
  • Credit Card Receipts (keep until verified on your statement)
  • Insurance Policies (keep for the life of the policy)
  • Mortgages / Deeds / Leases (keep 6 years beyond the agreement)
  • Pay Stubs (keep until reconciled with your W-2)
  • Sales Receipts (keep for life of the warranty)
  • Stock and Bond Records (keep for 6 years beyond selling)
  • Warranties and Instructions (keep for the life of the product)
  • Other Bills (keep until payment is verified on the next bill)
  • Depreciation Schedules and Other Capital Asset Records (keep for 3 years after the tax life of the asset)