How Do Long Do You Keep Tax Records?

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I get that question every year about this time. It’s gotten a lot easier now, though, since most of the record-keeping can be done electronically. I just cleaned out my own file cabinet and was able to put two years in one file storage box. It used to take 3 or more boxes for each year. The way it’s going, though, pretty soon, it’ll largely be all electronically. It’s a lot easier to store electronic records for a long time.

But let’s say you still keep a lot of records in paper form. How long do you keep them?

At a minimum, you need to keep records for 3 years after you filed your tax return in  case of IRS audit. But don’t just throw out everything else. You may find that your state has a different statute of limitations on audit.

For example, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin all have FOUR years to audit you after you’ve filed your return.

For legal purposes, it’s usually good to keep records for 10 years.

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