Tax season is about to begin, and many taxpayers are looking through old receipts wondering what to keep and what to pitch. What about all those other papers that have accumulated over the years? The following website articles will help you clean out your files for a less cluttered New Year.
USA.gov recommends breaking household records up into an “Active File” that deals with “documents and financial records you deal with on a regular basis,” and a “Dead Storage” file consisting of any “active” papers that are three years or older. They also provide a user-friendly chart detailing the kinds of documents that should be kept for a longer period of time, or forever; and many links to articles and checklists that will help put, not just your paper files, but your whole household, into order.
Consumer Reports suggests that tax time is a great time to begin organizing those chaotic piles of paper receipts and documents. This article breaks it down into time frames for keeping documents and receipts, and also gives tips on what to keep at home and what to store in a safety deposit box.
Kiplinger’s website suggests going paper-free so that you can “deep-six” most of your documents. What to keep? Actual tax returns forever, but the documents that support the returns need only be kept for three years. Those supporting documents will include the confirmation letters from charities and year-end investment statements. You should keep records showing how much you paid for stocks, your house, and home improvement receipts, also “hold on to records showing how much money went into and came out of IRAs and 401(k)s.”
Are you self-employed or a small business owner? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website provides advice on what documents are necessary to keep, and for how long.
The Monroe County Library System can help. Check our Online Catalog for materials that will help eliminate clutter in all your home and office spaces.