While record keeping for individuals differs from business, complete and organized records make your finances easier to manage, and help you avoid paying too much in taxes. How long to retain these records can vary depending on state and federal regulations, but the following guidelines are generally appropriate:

Record Retention Guide for Individuals
Record Retention Period
Tax returns (uncomplicated) 7 years
Tax returns (all others) Permanent
W-2s 7 years
1099s 7 years
Cancelled checks supporting tax deductions 7 years
Bank deposit slips 7 years
Bank statements 7 years
Charitable contribution documentation 7 years
Credit card statements 7 years
Receipts, diaries, logs pertaining to tax return 7 years
Investment purchase and sales slips Ownership period + 7 years
Dividend reinvestment records Ownership period + 7 years
Year-end brokerage statements Ownership period + 7 years
Mutual fund annual statements Ownership period + 7 years
Investment property purchase documents Ownership period + 7 years
Home purchase documents Ownership period + 7 years
Home improvement receipts and cancelled checks Ownership period + 7 years
Home repair receipts and cancelled checks Warranty period for item
Retirement plan annual reports Permanent
IRA annual reports Permanent
IRA nondeductible contributions (Form 8606) Permanent

Heiser and Company will be happy to assist you with any questions about these guidelines or help in record retention for your business or household.

Quick Tip: The retention period for electronic and paper records is the same.