Thursday, April 11, 2024

How Long Should I Keep Tax Records

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Keeping Track Of Medical Bills And Receipts At Home

How long should you keep tax records? has some great traps to fall into

While you should try to avoid keeping duplicates at all costs, there are a few factors you should take into account. Did specialists treat you? How long did you stay in the hospital? What doctors attended to you?

Here are some things to consider when keeping track of bills at home.

  • Some costs, like the nurses and technicians, are included in the daily room rate. This might be applicable if you stayed in the hospital for a few weeks. Some attending doctors arent included in that rate, though. They will bill you separately because they arent employed by the hospital.
  • Keep all these individual bills for one year. If you receive duplicatessuch as charges that are mentioned twice on different statementstoss those.
  • You might want to invest in a shredder. One of the main reasons that people save bills is out of concern, and dont want to be caught without the documents they need. But experts recommend trashing them anyway. If someone breaks into your home, they can access information to commit identity fraud. In addition, if you dont dispose of them properly, youre putting yourself at a similar risk.

If youre still struggling to stay organized, here are some tips. Set up a time and date to review your files. It doesnt have to be every week. Setting a quarterly date might be enough to keep you from accumulating papers that you dont need.

If you already have a full file cabinet, you may not know what documents to keep. Here are some tips.

Exceptions To The Rules For Record Retention

The CRA may request that you keep your records for longer than six years and notify you of this in-person or by registered mail. However, there are some situations where you may need to keep your records for a different period of time, with or without the request of the CRA.

These are some examples of such situations:

Utility Bills Deposits And Withdrawal Records

If youre self-employed, you may need your utility, cable and cell phone bills for tax purposes. Otherwise, you can dispose of them as soon as you verify your payment was processed. You can also dispose of bank withdrawal and deposit slips after verifying them with your monthly statement.

3 ways to keep your documents secure

Its important to make sure your sensitive information is safe and accessible.

Safeguard your information

For physical documents, designate a safe, out-of-the-way place in your home to store all paper records that protects them from damage or theft. For digital records, be sure to archive and back up all electronic records. Its a good idea for these records to be password protected.

Guard your financial accounts

Use complex passwords to keep your account information safe. Make sure your username and password combination is different from the ones you use for personal email, online merchants and social media accounts. Protecting your computer with antivirus software is also a good idea.

Properly dispose of paper documents

Youll put yourself at risk of fraud or identity theft if you simply throw away private documents, such as financial statements. Invest in a cross-cut shredder that will eliminate all traces of your personal information, or search for free shredding events in your community. Also consider having paperless statements and documents, which can help reduce the risk of identity theft posed by lost or stolen mail.

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What Documents Should You Keep Up With

For the next 6 to 7 years there are a few documents that you should keep in case any problems should arise. It is much easier to have these papers available than for you to not keep them. The ones that you should have are:

  • 1099s

It is highly advised that you also have these other documents on hand as well:

  • Important Receipts
  • Medical Bills

Why Should You Keep Tax Records


First, why do you have to keep tax records at all? Once tax season is over, you might not even want to think about taxes let alone deal with tax forms for another year.

For some people, the answer is likely fear of being audited. If the IRS decides to audit you, youll need your tax records to answer their questions.

Tax documents can include receipts, bank statements, 1099s and more, says Dr. Cozette M. White, founder of My Financial Home Enterprises in Oxnard, California. If youre one of the unlucky few to be audited, these records will be vital to fending off the IRS.

But fear of an audit isnt the only reason to hold on to your tax records.

After you file your tax return, the IRS could notify you that theyve found an error on your return. They could have a question about information in your return. Or, you could discover you made a mistake on your return and need to file an amendment. You might even need information from a past years return in order to file this years return.

Having access to your tax documents makes it easier to deal with these situations.

Also Check: Doordash 1099 Form

Keep Your Tax Documents At Least Until The Time Limit For An Audit Runs Outand Even Longer For Some Records

Now that tax season is over, you can forget about taxes for a while! But what should you do with all the forms, receipts, canceled checks and other records scattered across your desk? Do you need to keep them, or can you throw them away ? The IRS generally has three years after the due date of your return to kick off an audit of your return, so you should hold on to all your tax records at least until that time has passed. But you should keep some records even longer, and it’s also a good idea to hold onto copies of the return itself indefinitely.

Also think about keeping certain documents for non-tax purposes. For instance, it might be wise to save W-2 forms until you start receiving Social Security benefits so you can verify your income if there’s a problem.

Here’s a general rundown on how long you should keep certain common tax records and documents. Of course, you can always hang on to them longer if you wantbut don’t become a pack rat!

Keep Records For 10 Years Or Longer Under Certain Circumstances

Tax filers who have paid taxes to a foreign government can claim a credit or itemized deduction on those taxes up to 10 years later. The credits and itemized deductions are only available if the same income is subject to US tax. But hanging on to those tax records for the 10 years will help you justify the claim if the need arises.

If you are a property owner, there are additional time requirements to consider. For one, you’ll definitely want to hold the tax records related to a particular property for the duration of your possession. These records will help you determine any depreciation, amortization, depletion deductions, and capital gains related to the property. After you sell the property, you’ll need to keep the records until the period of limitations expires.

But there’s a catch when it comes to nontaxable exchanges. If you obtain property in a nontaxable exchange, you’ll need to keep the tax records of both the old property and the new property until the period of limitations expires when you sell the new property.

Quick tip: Section 1031 of the tax code allows you to exchange real estate properties of the same type without recognizing a capital gain or loss. Investors and businesses can use this opportunity to further their investment goals without incurring a big tax bill.

Read Also: How To File Taxes For Doordash

Is Now The Right Time To Get Rid Of Old Paperwork

But how long do you really need to keep your business records? In fact, you can be downright inundated with records from tax returns and expense receipts, to invoices, cancelled checks, payroll records, bank statements, meeting minutesthe list goes on.

Whether you have everything methodically stored in a filing cabinet or stashed out of sight in a desk drawer, youve probably asked yourself, do I really need to keep all this?

Record keeping isnt fun. And outside of the tax world, there are few rules and little guidance on exactly what should be kept and for how long. Conventional wisdom when it comes to documentation is better safe than sorry.

However, instead of stockpiling everything, its smarter to have an overall plan for keeping your records to make sure you keep the important stuff.

So Ive got some advice for you about record-keeping.

Keep in mind that what follows is just general guidance, and not necessarily the final word. Your accountant or tax advisor may have different recommendations for your situation.

How Long To Keep Tax Records In Canada

How long should I keep my tax records?

In general, you need to keep all required records and supporting documentation for six-years from the end of the last tax year that they pertain to. The tax year is defined as the calendar year for individuals and the fiscal period for corporations.

For trusts, the tax year varies based on what type the trust is. All non-testamentary or graduated rate estate trusts are typically required to use a tax year-end of December 31st. The only exception is for mutual fund trusts that elect December 15th as their year-end.

In the case of a GRE, the year-end date will be the day the estate is no longer considered a GRE. This date is determined to be no later than the thirty-six-month anniversary of the decedent’s passing. For example, if an estate was created in July 2017 will have a year-end date in July of 2020.

Legislations that determine the record retention period are as follows:

  • Excise Act, 2001
  • Excise Tax Act
  • Income Tax Act
  • Air Travellers Security Charge Act
  • Canada Pension Plan

Also Check: Efstatus.taxact 2014

The Eight Small Business Record Keeping Rules

  • Always keep receipts, bank statements, invoices, payroll records, and any other documentary evidence that supports an item of income, deduction, or credit shown on your tax return.

  • Most supporting documents need to be kept for at least three years.

  • Employment tax records must be kept for at least four years.

  • If you omitted income from your return, keep records for six years.

  • If you deducted the cost of bad debt or worthless securities, keep records for seven years.

  • Go paperless, store everything electronically, and always make backups.

  • Expenses that are less than $75 or that have to do with transportation, lodging or meal expenses might not require a receipt. But you still need to tell the IRS where and when the expense occurred, and what it was for.

  • Even if you donât need a document to do your taxes, you might need it for something else. When it doubt, keep it.

  • How To Organize Your Tax Records

    As youre working on your taxes, its crucial to remember that you may need to access them again in the event of an audit by the IRS. With that in mind, a shoebox with loads of papers or files scattered throughout your hard drive is not a good move.

    Instead, start a filing system that organizes all your records by year and by category, such as bank statements, income forms and receipts. Throughout the year, make sure youre maintaining that system so that everything makes sense when you file and if the IRS requests something from the past, youll be able to track it down quickly.

    If youre still dealing with a heavy amount of paper, there are plenty of apps to digitize and simplify your life, such as Expensify or CamScanner.

    Read Also: 1099 Nec Doordash

    How Long To Keep Your Records

    Generally, you must keep all required records and supporting documents for a period of six years from the end of the last tax year they relate to.

    The tax year:

    • is the fiscal period for corporations
    • is the calendar year for individuals
    • varies for trusts based on the type

    The rules for the record retention period are similar under the following legislations:

    • the Income Tax Act
    • the Excise Act, 2001
    • the Air Travellers Security Charge Act

    In some situations, you must retain your records for a different period of time. Below is a list of these situations, as well as the retention periods that apply to each of them:

  • When a non-incorporated business or other organization ends, it must keep its records for six years from the end of the tax year in which the business or organization ended.
  • When a corporation is dissolved, it must keep the following records for two years after the date of its dissolution:
  • all records and supporting documents to verify its tax obligations and entitlements
  • all other records that corporations have to keep
  • When corporations amalgamate or merge to create a new corporation, the new corporation must usually keep the business records of each of the amalgamated or merged corporations for six years from the end of the taxation year to which they relate.
  • When you are the legal representative of a deceased taxpayer or trust, you can destroy the records after receiving a clearance certificate to distribute property under your control.
  • A Tax Professional Can Help You

    How long should I keep old tax records?

    If you are unsure of all the steps that you need to take for a deceased relative or friend, you can hire the help of a tax professional. They will know all the obligations that you have and areas that you can take advantage of. Tax professionals can inform you of all the records and documents that you need to keep on hand as well.

    When you are audited by the government, it can make some people nervous. Not because there is a problem, mainly because they want to make sure they have everything that they need. When a deceased person is audited, it is a smoother process if you have all the documents available.

    Tax Crisis Institute has been a tax relief leader for over 30 years. When you work with the Tax Crisis Institute, well make sure you dont pay anything more than you owe!

    We currently service Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Orange County in California and Las Vegas in Nevada.

    17011 Beach Blvd, Suite 900 Huntington Beach, CA 92647

    Read Also: Protest Taxes Harris County

    Ownership Records And Other Key Business Documents

    There are certain documents that need to be kept indefinitely. These include your company formation documents, such as articles of incorporation and articles of organization .

    If youre a corporation, youll also need to keep any director or shareholder meeting minutes and a stock ledger. Other key ownership and business documents should be kept permanently including deeds, titles, property records and any contracts.

    Organizing Your Home Records

    Because paper, such as receipts, fades with time and takes up space, consider scanning and storing your documents on a flash drive, an external hard drive, or a cloud-based remote server. Even better, save your documents to at least two of these places.

    Or, you can consider an app such as Smart Receipts, which is available via Google Play and Mac App Store. Smart Receipts lets you track your finances, including receipts, for yourself or your employer. You can choose from default data types including dates, price, tax, receipt categories, comments, and payment methods.

    Digital copies are OK with the IRS as long as theyre identical to the originals and contain all the accurate information that was in the original receipts. You must be able to produce a hard copy if the IRS asks for one.

    Tip: Tax season and years end are good times to purge files and toss what you no longer need that’s often when the spirit of organization moves us.

    When you do finally toss out your home-related paperwork, use a shredder. Throwing away intact documents with personal financial information could put you at risk for identity theft.

    This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but isnt intended to be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.

    Also Check: How Much Are Taxes For Doordash

    Best Practices To Keep Your Records Organized

    Keeping records is one thing keeping records organized is another! It is easier to pile up every document, but it is harder to keep data organized and filed. Storage is only useful when organized. CRA not only suggests organization it is required. Lets discuss some tips to organize daunting piles of supporting documents.

    • Keep all of your receipts. Consider categorizing them in heads that make sense to you and your business.
    • Brief your receipts. Not all receipts come with appropriate descriptions. After a few months, you might not be able to recall from where and why any receipt was generated hence take out time to mention a brief description of every receipt.
    • Keep virtual and paper documents. It is advised to keep both soft and hard copies of supporting documents. Keeping both, keeps you prepared for the worst and saves you from major problems down the road.

    To reduce the cost of dealing with the inevitable accumulation of business documents that comes from doing business and paying taxes in Canada, and to provide sufficient evidence and support in the event of a review by CRA is only possible if you know what to keep, why to keep, how to keep and for how long to keep.

    For effective record keeping, doubt means do not discard. Keeping your documents for too long is not harmful, but scrapping them too soon may be disastrous. We hope the information shared will help you determine how long to keep your tax records in Canada.


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