Spring Cleaning? What Tax Records to Save and What to Discard

written by Jay LogalWoman cleaning the counter in the kitchen

Spring is a classic time to consider any cleaning or organizing enterprise. The urge to take stock, clean house and become a bit more organized is especially appealing after a long winter. With such a desire to declutter, a taxpayer may want to undergo a housecleaning of documents, receipts and papers that may have been stored over the years in the event of an IRS audit. Fears of an audit may have led to the accumulation of a number of tax related documents, many of which may no longer need to be kept.

Return-related documents
It is generally recommended by the IRS to keep copies of tax returns and supporting documents at least three years. However, there are some documents that should be kept for up to seven years, for those instances where a taxpayer needs to file an amended return or if questions may arise. Real estate related records should be kept for up to seven years following the disposition of property.

Healthcare related documents
Although healthcare information statements should be kept with other tax records, taxpayers are to remember that such statements do not need to be sent to the IRS as proof of health coverage. Records that taxpayers are strongly encouraged to keep include records of employer-provided coverage, premiums paid, advance payments of the premium tax credit received and the type of coverage held. As with other tax records, it is suggested to keep such information for three years from the time of filing the associated tax return.

Last year’s return
Taxpayers are encouraged to keep a copy of last year’s return. In efforts to thwart tax related identity theft and refund fraud, the IRS continues to make changes to authenticate and protect taxpayer identity in online return-related interactions. In 2017, some taxpayers who e-file will need to enter either the prior-year adjusted gross income or the prior-year self-select PIN and date of birth—information associated with the prior year’s return—to authenticate their identity.

Please contact us if you have any questions about tax records 417-881-0145.


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