For those who want to be extra cautious about retaining financial records, here are specific reasons why you should keep your actual tax returns even if the statute of limitations has expired. And what exactly are the statutes of limitations which are relevant?
Supporting documents, such as 1099’s, W-2’s, receipts for charitable contributions, etc. should be kept for 3 years after the return was filed or the due date, whichever is later. For example, the documents for your 2011 return filed March 1, 2012 should be retained until April 15, 2015. Note that if your 1099 is attached to a brokerage statement that shows evidence of the purchase cost of a financial asset it’s critical to hold onto the statement until you dispose of that asset.
As for the tax returns themselves, it’s a good idea to save them forever. They may be needed for Medicaid, immigration, pension, divorce and other purposes. They may also contain useful data in filing future returns. At a minimum we recommend retaining them for 10 years. Certain items on a tax return affect later years and need to be kept until the statutes of those later years’ tax returns expire. For example: [Read more…] about More on Retention of Records