Friday, February 5, 2010

Document Retention - What to Keep and What to Shred

The beginning of the year is always a good time to cull through previous years' bills, bank statements, and other documents. Many people are not sure what to keep and what can be shredded or thrown away/recycled.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

PAYCHECK STUBS: One year. Keep until you receive your W-2 at the end of the year to compare figures. Then shred the stubs and the W-2 will go with your tax return.

CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS: Proof-read your statement each month to make sure there are no fraudulent charges showing. Then, unless you need to keep the statement for a business expense, you can shred the statement after paying the bill.

BANK STATEMENTS: One year, same as credit card statements.

TAX RETURNS: Keep forever - including back-up tax information.

HOUSE-RELATED RECORDS: Keep those records on your current residence in the event you sell your home and need proof of home improvements which can lower your capital gains tax.

IRA CONTRIBUTIONS: Keep indefinitely - with the appropriate year tax records.

PAID BILLS: Keep only until you receive proof that payment has been received - canceled check, credit card statement. I keep one copy of each of my credit card and utility bills in case I need to contact the company.

INSURANCE POLICIES: Keep all active policies. You can shred old policies when they are replaced.

WARRANTIES AND CONTRACTS: Keep active and shred expired warranties or contracts and for any items you no longer own.

AUTO RECORDS: Keep for as long as you own the car. Retain sales transaction information for six (6) years after the car is sold.

INVESTMENT STATEMENTS: Keep one year current and retain the annual statements from previous years. Keep records of stock and securities transactions along with your tax information.


amyonymous said...

thanks! that's the most succinct and clear list i've seen!


more said...


Vicky Milza said...

Hi friends,

A document retention policy should address three types of documents temporary, final, and permanent. Document retention systems should be logical and easy to administer. The approach used in this paper will work for a wide variety of firms. It provides for the orderly management of documents maintained by the company. Thanks a lot...

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