How Long Should You Keep Your Tax Returns?


Quick Answer

Generally, individuals are encouraged to retain tax returns and all associated records for at least three years after filing, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Special exceptions arise depending on past claims and activities.

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How Long Should You Keep Your Tax Returns?
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Full Answer

Keep records for two years from the point at which taxes on a return were paid if claiming a credit or refund following the filing of your tax return, recommends the IRS. If you claim a tax loss from worthless securities or bad debt, retain the records for at least seven years. Records should be retained for at least six years if income is not reported and is greater than 25% of the income stated on the return. If a return is not filed or you submit a fraudulent return, retain the records forever. Any employment-related tax records should also be retained for four years following the date related taxes are due or paid.

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