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Keep It or Shred It?

Proper filing and secure destruction of your sensitive paperwork is an important part of protecting yourself against identity theft and fraud. Be proactive and protect your personal information. Keep important papers safe and organized, and destroy sensitive documents you no longer need. Use this general guide to get started.

Keep until warranty expires or item can no longer be returned or exchanged

  • Sales Receipts (If needed for tax purposes, keep for 3 years.)

Keep for 1 month

  • ATM Printouts (Use to balance your checkbook, shred receipts monthly.)

Keep for 1 year (Unless needed for tax purposes, then keep for 3 years after filing return.)

  • Bank Statements
  • Cancelled Checks
  • Credit Card Receipts
  • Paycheck Stubs
  • Quarterly Investment Statements (Hold until annual statement is received.)
  • Utility Bills (Toss after one year, unless used for tax deduction--then keep for 3 years.)

Keep for 3 years

  • Annual Investment Statement (Hold for 3 years after you sell your investment.)
  • Medical Bills and Cancelled Insurance Policies.
  • Records of Selling a House (For Capital Gains Tax.)
  • Records of Selling a Stock (For Capital Gains Tax.)
  • Receipts, Cancelled Checks and other Documents that Support Income or a Deduction on your Tax Return (Keep 3 years from the date the return was filed or 2 years from the date the tax was paid - which ever is later.)

Keep for 7 years

  • Income Tax Returns (The IRS can audit up to three years or more after taxes have been filed, depending on the circumstances. If you don’t file a return at all, there is no statute of limitations.)
  • Satisfied Loan Documents

Keep while active

  • Contracts
  • Insurance Documents
  • Property Records
  • Stock Certificates

 

 

Learn more about keeping personal records.