It is important to keep your personal records for the purposes of tax return preparation, personal use, and emergency situations. Postlethwaite & Netterville has established this retention schedule for individuals to use that takes into account tax regulations. The retention periods are intended as a general guideline only, and your personal judgment should always prevail. If you have questions about your records, please contact a Postlethwaite & Netterville professional immediately. These guidelines apply to both paper and electronically stored records.
Document Retention Period
- Bank statements: Keep 3 years unless needed for tax records.
- Cancelled Checks: Keep 3 years unless needed for tax records.
- Charitable Contributions: Keep with applicable tax return.
- Credit Purchase Receipts: Discard after purchase appears on credit card statement if not needed for warranties, merchandise return or taxes.
- Credit Card Statements: Keep 3 years.
- Employee Business Expense Records: Keep with applicable tax return.
- Health Insurance Policies: Keep until policy expires, lapses, or is replaced.
- Home & Property Insurance: Keep until policy expires, lapses, or is replaced.
- Income Tax Return and Records: Permanently.
- Investment Annual Statements and 1099’s: Keep with applicable tax return.
- Investment Sale and Purchase Confirmation Records: Dispose of sale confirmation records when the transactions are correctly reflected on the monthly statement. Keep purchase confirmation records 3 years after investment is sold as evidence of cost.
- Life Insurance: Keep until there is no chance of reinstatement. Premium receipts may be discarded when notices reflect payment.
- Medical Records: Permanently.
- Medical Expense Records: Keep with applicable tax return if deducted on tax return.
- Military Papers: Permanently (may be required for possible veteran’s benefits).
- Individual Retirement Account Records: Permanently.
- Passports: Until expiration.
- Pay Stubs: One year. Discard all but final, cumulative pay stubs for the year.
- Personal Certificates (Birth/Death, Marriage/Divorce, Religious Ceremonies): Permanently.
- Real Estate Documents: Keep 3-6 years after property has been disposed of and taxes have been paid
- Residential Records (Copies of purchase related documents, annual mortgage statements, receipts for
- improvements and copies of rental leases/receipts.): Indefinitely.
- Retirement Plan Statements: Keep 3-6 years. Keep year end statements permanently.
- Social Security Statements: Discard as you receive current records of payments into the Social Security System.
- Warranties and Receipts: Discard warranties when they are clearly expired. Use your judgment when discarding receipts.
- Will: Keep current Will permanently. Keep until rendered obsolete (by a new version).
Note: Guidelines for maintaining records are primarily based on a taxing authority's statutory power and limitations on auditing these records.