Sunday, July 11, 2010


     Have you wondered what you should do with all the old bank records and credit card bills that are jamming your files? Are they really as important as you think they are? Here is a brief primer on what to keep and what you can toss.

     As far as your bills are concerned; you may want to hold on to the receipts for specific items for a year or until the warranty has expired. For everything else, once you have checked them against your records and confirmed that they are correct, toss them. I find stapling receipts to the owner’s manuals and putting them away is an easy system. In today’s world if you really need back copies you will find that most of your purchase information will always be available on the net or from the vendor. They are legally accountable to maintain the records of your transactions for a number of years
     The IRS can only audit you for three years, unless they are involved in a criminal investigation. For a secure margin of safety you should keep your tax records and justifying receipts for 6 or 7 years. The same goes for expense reports and their records.

     Home purchase, improvement, and other investment records should be kept for all the time you own them plus seven years after you dispose of them
     Everything else that doesn’t fit into one of these categories can be shredded. You will then have enough room to save a bunch of other papers you don’t really need.