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Is it safe to throw away tax documents after ten years?*

The IRS has three years to challenge your tax declarations, but it has up to six years if your income is understated by more than 25%. Therefore, it is generally considered more than adequate to keep tax records for ten years.* Note: save the following forms along with receipts in a Permanent file for calculating taxable gains when you sell your house, investments, or any property:

  • Form 8606 for nondeductible contributions made to your retirement fund which can be withdrawn later without paying additional tax (if you frequently make nondeductible contributions, keep a separate account to simplify record keeping)
  • Form 8839 for property improvements made in support of adopted children
  • Form 3468 for energy saving improvements, electric vehicles, and other investment credits
  • Form 2119 only if you have postponed paying tax on profits from the sale of a previous home or homes before May 7 of 1997
  • Form 4562 for depreciation of property (the IRS recommends that you use depreciation tables as your permanent record instead)
  • Any other forms pertaining to cost-basis of an asset (i.e. purchase price and improvement costs)
Note: If you intentionally avoid filing a return or falsify records, there is no time limit for the government to charge you with fraud. If you have any special circumstances consult a tax advisor. If you are not sure, keep records of your actual tax forms (1040, W2 etc.) beyond ten years using the extra labels provided on sheet 3 of your Deluxe Kit. After ten years have passed, you may discard cancelled checks, receipts, statements and the like.*

*NOTE: While FreedomFiler® provides a method of automatic purging which eliminates the need to review files, you must ultimately decide which documents are kept two years, ten years, or indefinitely. FreedomFiler® is not liable under any circumstances for claims of loss or damage arising from suggested document retention guidelines. Consult a professional advisor to determine your specific document retention needs and adapt your system accordingly.

 
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