These are the best practices for how long to save the most common home documents:
Keep 7 years :
- Tax returns: The IRS has 3 years to audit you. But if you underreport by 25% they can go back 6 years. And there is no statute of limitations on tax fraud so save proof of payment + your return forever.
- W-2 and 1099’s. Keep with tax returns.
- Bills & receipts you deduct for tax purposes.
- Checks, Receipts. Statements for: Mortgage interest and property taxes, childcare bills, out of pocket medical expenses, any tax deductible expenses.
Keep 1 year:
- Bank statements – file with tax return
- Pay stubs – discard after you get W-2
Keep 1 month:
- Credit card bills, mortgage bills, utility bills
- Tax returns and proof of payment
- Motor vehicle driving tickets and proof of payment - there are some reports of collectors coming back to haunt you years later.
- Medical records - Tests, surgeries, x-rays may all be helpful down the road.
- Vital records - see list below
- Checks and receipts for home improvements: save as long as you own your home.
- Receipts/Checks for expensive items: keep as long as you own the item as proof of purchase.
- Mortgage information: keep in a firesafe box as long as you own your home.
- Stock & Mutual Fund Records: Keep as long as you own the investment plus six years. You’ll need them to figure capital gains. If you get a year-end statement you can toss the monthly statements.
Keep hard to replace or one of a kind items in a fireproof box or a safe deposit box. Scan and save a digital copy on your computer, flash drive, and/or in the cloud if it is a secure site.
- military records
- marriage documents
- divorce documents
- power of attorney
- adoption papers
- car titles
- baptism records
- citizenship records
- custody papers
- death certificates
- household inventory
- list of investments
- social security cards
- photos on flash drives
Keep at home in a small GO BOX - a fireproof box you can grab in case of fire, flood, or other disaster.
Copies of drivers licenses, credit cards, items in wallet, one credit card and cash for emergency, home inventory list, list of medicines you take.