Get Your Paperwork in Order

Taxes, documents and other paperwork

By Lynda Baquero
|  Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009  |  Updated 7:59 PM EDT
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Paperwork Tips:  What to Throw Out -- and When

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CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 1: Federal tax forms are distributed at the offices of the Internal Revenue Service. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Paperwork Tips: What to Throw Out -- and When

How long should you keep that restaurant receipt? What about old tax returns? Here's your guide.
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It's tax time! As you go through mounds of paperwork in your home, how do you know which documents to toss, which to keep, and for how long? Here are some answers, according to Kimberly Lankford of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine.

Lankford says you can get rid of certain papers because "there are so many redundancies, so many things you have that you've kept as receipts. And then you have a statement for that month, and then you have a year-end statement."

INSTANT THROWAWAYS: Receipts for everyday purchases such as food, gasoline, and products you don't anticipate returning or repairing, such as clothing.

KEEP FOR 30 DAYS: ATM and Credit Receipts, Utility Bills.  Check them all against monthly statements and then toss them.

KEEP FOR 1 Year: Paycheck Stubs, Investment Statements, Medical Statements

KEEP FOR 3 YEARS: Your checkbook, canceled checks, supporting tax return documents

KEEP FOREVER: Tax Returns, Pension, Property and Medical Records.


But be careful when you get rid of paperwork; shred it to avoid identity theft.

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