Document Storage Guidelines

In a world that is trying to go paperless, but still hasn’t totally grasped that concept, all of us end up with mounds and mounds of papers.  How do you know what papers you should keep?  What should you throw away? The following guidelines can help you.

Documents to keep permanently

  • Annual tax returns
  • Year-end summaries from financial service companies
  • Stock and bond certificates
  • Deeds of property and ownership, auto titles, insurance policies
  • Home improvement records
  • Health records, wills and powers of attorney
  • Birth certificates, adoption and custody records, death certificates

Documents to keep temporarily

  • Paycheck stubs until reconciled with W-2 or 1099 forms
  • Phone and utility bills for one year (or seven years if business-related)
  • Monthly bank and credit card statements for one year
  • Monthly mortgage statements for one year
  • Brokerage or mutual fund statements until they’ve been reconciled at year end
  • Year end statements from credit card companies for seven years
  • W-2 and 1099 forms for seven years
  • Cancelled checks and receipts for all tax-deductible expenses for seven years

Discard or shred

  • ATM, bank-deposit slips and credit card receipts after cleared on a statement
  • Non-tax deductible receipts for minor purchases
  • Old magazines and articles not read within the past six months
  • Receipts, instructions and warranties for items you no longer own (or warranties that have expired)

Information provided by www.containerstore.com

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