My Taxes Are Done. What Can I Throw Out Now?

Unless you filed for an extension, your tax return is now done and posted through the mail or beamed through the Interweb to the IRS and your state government, if required. That’s a relief. Now, what items in your files should you keep, and which can you throw out?

To protect yourself in case of an audit, you should keep our printed or digital tax returns for seven years. Keep these in locked cabinets or password-protected files. If the IRS suspects you of hiding income, you can be audited for up to six years, and you can be subject to random audits for three years. If you like to keep information about your income around, go ahead and keep them indefinitely.

Also keep supporting documents such as receipts, invoices, 1099 forms, sales records, charitable donation receipts, and any other documents that you would need to verify every penny that you claimed as income or deductions.

If you ended up taking the standard deduction, as many people with salaried jobs do, then you don’t need to prove your deductions. You can throw the receipts and such out, and just keep copies of any of the forms, digital or paper, that you would have mailed in with your return.

By “throw that out,” of course, we mean feed it into a cross-cut shredder at home or at a public shredding event, then recycle it.

How long should you keep your tax records? [Consumer Reports]