How Long to Keep Tax Records and Other Documents

By Consumer Reports

This week’s The Distillery answers the question you silently ask yourself every year, “How Long do I have to keep all these tax documents?” Unless you’re just into collecting dust, or power cleaning your filing cabinet (it took 3 people to carry my desk full of documents upstairs a few years ago), we hope this article provides the information you’ve been seeking to inspire a Spring documents cleanse!


Tax season is the perfect time to start culling your paper piles and computer files and getting everything in order. You’ve already delved into your financial records, so you might as well take the time to organize them. There are plenty of good reasons to do this. One is that if you haven’t yet completed your taxes, getting your paperwork in order will reduce tax-preparation stress. And if you have already filed your taxes, you’ll want to know how long to keep tax records and other financial papers in case you’re audited.

There are other instances when being organized can pay off. If you’re meeting with a financial adviser or an attorney, you don’t want to spend hours wading through clutter to find the documents you need. If there’s a fire, flood, or theft, you’ll need access to essential documents quickly. And if you become ill, well-organized paperwork will make it easier for your loved ones to find your healthcare power of attorney, insurance policies, medical records, and outstanding bills.

So what should you do?…Read More