How long should I keep important documents?

Wondering what you should keep, and what you should bring to our Shred Day? We can help you figure out what’s worth holding onto, what can be destroyed, and offer tips on safeguarding your personal information.

Store permanently: Tax Returns & Major Financial Records

Tax returns are important documents to hang onto as part of your financial history. You should keep a permanent, electronic and/or hard copy of each year’s return, as well as any records of major financial events, such as filings or inheritances.

Keep for 3–7 years: Supporting Tax Documentation

You should keep an electronic or hard copy of any supporting documentation from your tax returns for 3–7 years after filing. The IRS may be able to ask you for that information for that timeframe, and you’ll want to be able to verify it with Form W-2, 1099, donation receipts, etc.

Store for 1 year: Regular Statements & Pay Stubs

Keep a digital or hard copy of your monthly bank and credit card statements for at least a year. It’s also a good idea to hold on to pay stubs in case you need to verify the accuracy of your W-2 when tax season arrives.

Keep for 1 month: Utility Bills, Deposit & Withdrawal Records

If you’re self-employed, you may need phone, cable, and utility bills for tax purposes. Otherwise, you can dispose of them once you’ve verified your payment was processed. You can also shred any bank withdrawal and deposit slips after you’ve checked them against your monthly statement.

Safeguard Your Information

For physical documents, designate a place in your home to store paper records – such as a filing cabinet or fire safe. For digital records, be sure to archive and back up everything.

Guard Your Online Financial Accounts

Use complex passwords and change them often to keep your account information safe. Make sure your username and password combination is not the same as the accounts you use for email, social media, and online merchants. Protect your computer with antivirus software as well.

Properly Dispose of Paper Documents

Disposing of paper records properly is an important step in keeping your personal information safe. We care about your privacy, which is why we host our Shred Day events—so that you can be sure your financial records are discarded safely!