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How Long Do You Need To Keep Your Tax Records

March 03, 2017

We are often asked how long an individual should keep their income tax records. The general answer is that the IRS has three years from the due date of a tax return to review or audit the return. After the three year statute of limitations, the IRS can only audit a tax return if there are some uncommon items listed on the tax return which can extend the statute of limitations to seven years, or if the IRS suspects fraud. Therefore, for most people the three year period is a good general rule. This means that a 2013 tax return, which was filed by the due date on April 15th, 2014, can be deposed of on April 15th, 2017. Returns for earlier years that were filed by the deadline can also be disposed of. However, it is important to note that tax returns that were not filed by the deadline, such as those that were put on extension, have a statute of limitations that extends three years from the date that the return was actually filed. Therefore, it can be prudent to mark the date that a tax return was filed on the folder or envelope containing the returns so that you know when the return can be put through the shredder.