Are you getting your taxes ready? It’s “that” time of year again, but it’s also a time when we give a big sigh, looking at at all the years of past returns we’ve been storing. How many years of returns are you storing? I often get the question, “How long do I need to keep my tax returns?” As we look at their decades of returns! As a Professional Organizer, it is not my role to advise how long you need to keep your returns, BUT, you can google the topic on IRS.gov a get your answers. Really, generally speaking, it’s only 3 years (really!), of course, there are exceptions. You can read all about those exceptions, but in general know that the 3 year period is tied to the IRS statute of limitations.
The next questions is, “What do I do with all my decades and decades of tax returns”? I recommend shredding them (if you don’t need to hang onto your records longer than three years. DISCLAIMER: Of course, get the “OK” from your CPA.). Tax returns contain sensitive information that identity thieves would love to get their hands on your returns! I know, it’s hard to discard them, so if you fall into that category, your options are storing them in a fire-proof safe, OR better yet, consider scanning them and storing them in a Cloud service, like Dropbox. Scanning your returns takes up far less space, and is easier to organize than a stack of papers. The silver lining — the IRS accepts (legible) digital copies of documents.