Spring is here, and along with beautiful weather comes an opportunity to do some much-needed annual cleaning. While many things in our technology-driven lives have moved online, we all still accumulate a significant amount of paper documents each year.
And since tax season is now over, Lee and I thought it would be helpful to share some suggestions on how to get rid of some of that extra paper! Below are our recommendations for how long you may want to keep certain documents and when it is a good time to dispose of them...
How long should you keep your financial documents?
- Keep for less than a year. Keep your ATM, bank deposit, and credit card receipts until you reconcile them with your monthly statements. Once you’ve done that, you can shred the documents unless you need them to support your tax-return for the upcoming year. Keep Investment statements until the new one arrives. Your investment statements with Peters Financial can be reproduced at any time if needed, so quarterly investment statements from Kestra, American Funds, Prudential, etc. can be shredded.
- Keep for a year or longer. Hold on to loan documents until the loan is paid off. If you own a vehicle, hold on to the title until you sell it. If you have investments in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that were recently moved to a new account – keep the purchase confirmations until cost basis is established. Once cost basis is established in your new account old investment statements can be shredded.
- Keep for 3 years. (For Most People) The IRS recommends keeping records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you take the standard deduction and only have a few sources of income the 3-year rule typically applies.
- Keep for seven years. If you have a complicated tax return and many sources of income, to be on the safe side, keep all tax records for at least 7 years. Tax returns and documents older than 7 years can be shredded. In the off chance that you fail to report all your gross income on your tax returns, the government has 6 years to collect the tax or start legal proceedings.
- Keep forever. Records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, Social Security cards, Property Titles, and military discharge papers should be kept indefinitely. Also, keep any defined-benefit plan documents, estate-planning documents, life insurance policies, and an inventory of what’s inside your bank safe deposit box.
The majority of paper that we all receive on a weekly basis can be disposed of. Identity theft is on the rise, so every year we at Peters Financial have our Open House & Shred Event to help our clients safely dispose of their sensitive documents. No need to keep letting it pile up on your desk, in the garage, or attic. Instead of feeding your shredder sheet by sheet, let Peters Financial help you declutter and protect your sensitive information!
So please feel free to bring all your outdated documents and statements to our Open House & Shred Event on Wednesday, May 3rd from 3:30pm to 6:30pm at the Peters Financial Mobile Office. A shred truck will be onsite so you can safely dispose of your confidential documents. We will also have delicious Mexican food from Taco Mama, margaritas, and snow cones from MOB-SNO for the kids!
Clink the link below for more details on the event and how to register!