Document Retention Guide
By Andrew DuPerrieu
June 12, 2017
At Blythe CPAs & Advisors, we regularly receive questions from our clients about document retention. What should I keep? What should I throw away? Below, we provide a useful guide to help you keep your file cabinet and hard drive neat and tidy.
Always remember to securely shred any documentation with personally identifiable information.
Documents which should be kept indefinitely in a secure location:
- Birth/death certificates and Social Security cards
- Marriage Licenses and Divorce Decrees
- Pension plan documents
- Copies of wills, trusts, health care proxies/living wills and powers of attorney (attorney/executor should have copies)
- Military discharge papers
- Copies of burial deeds and plots
- Safe-deposit box inventory
- Copies of all tax returns
Suggested timeline for retaining documents:
- Supporting documents for tax return (7 years)– This is the recommended minimum period of time to retain. Remember, tax return copies should remain on file forever.
- Investment records and statements (7 years) – These are needed for tax filing. Keep for at least 3 years. You may want to keep for the same amount of time as the supporting documents for tax returns.
- Credit card statements (45 days-7 years)– Keep up to seven years if it may be used for taxes, as proof of purchase or for insurance.
- Bank statements (1-3+ years)– Keep for 3 years or longer if you apply for Medicaid, or it pertains to taxes, a business expense, home improvement, mortgage payment or major purchase.
- Medical and dental records (1-5 years)– Keep for at least one year, maybe up to five to be safe. Retain information about prescriptions, specific medical histories, health insurance information and contact information for your physician.
- Utility and phone bills (1 month-1 year)– Shred them after you have paid them, unless they contain tax-deductible expenses—keep them for a year if they can be used for business deductions.
- Insurance policies (until closed)– Keep as long as the policies remain in force.
- Mortgages and other home documents (ownership + 6 years)– Mortgages, deeds and home improvement documents should be kept on file for the length of ownership, plus six years after selling the home.
- Appliance manuals and warranties (if owned)– Keep on file for the length of ownership.
- Vehicle titles and loan documents (if owned)– Keep on file for the length of ownership.
- Pay stubs (until end of year)– There is not a requirement for keeping pay stubs. Keep up to three months if you are applying for a loan. You may want to keep them for a year so you can compare against your W-2.
Financial AdvisorAbout the Author:
Andrew is a Financial Advisor with Blythe Investment Advisors. He is passionate about working alongside clients, providing custom and highly personalized services based on each clients unique needs and expectations. He is committed to coaching, supporting, and educating clients to achieve their financial goals.
Joining our firm in 2014, Andrew serves as a Financial Advisor for Blythe CPAs and Advisors providing wealth management and investment solutions to existing and prospective clients. Andrew is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a major in Finance and a minor in Economics. Prior to joining Blythe CPAs and Advisors, Andrew spent several years in the banking industry as a commercial lender. Andrew is an active member in his community and church. He currently serves as Chairman of the Salvation Army of Paducah Advisory Board. He is a graduate of Leadership Paducah Class #29. Andrew enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with his wife and daughters.
Joining our firm in 2014, Andrew serves as a Financial Advisor for Blythe CPAs and Advisors providing wealth management and investment solutions to existing and prospective clients. Andrew is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a major in Finance and a minor in Economics. Prior to joining Blythe CPAs and Advisors, Andrew spent several years in the banking industry as a commercial lender.
Andrew is an active member in his community and church. He currently serves as Chairman of the Salvation Army of Paducah Advisory Board. He is a graduate of Leadership Paducah Class #29. Andrew enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with his wife and daughters.
2660 West Park Drive
Paducah, KY 42001
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.
This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered Representatives of Cetera Financial Specialists LLC may only conduct business with residents of the states and/or jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Not all of the products and services referenced on this site may be available in every state and through every representative listed. For additional information please contact the representative(s) listed on the site, visit the Cetera Financial Specialists LLC site at www.ceterafinancialspecialists.com. Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGFS Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Cetera entities are under separate ownership from any other named entity.Home offices at 200 N. Martingale Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173; phone 888-528-2987.
Please Note: The information being provided is strictly as a courtesy. When you link to any of the websites provided here, you are leaving this website. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these websites. Nor is the company liable for any direct or indirect technical or system issues or any consequences arising out of your access to or your use of third-party technologies, websites, information and programs made available through this website. When you access one of these websites, you are leaving our website and assume total responsibility and risk for your use of the websites you are linking to.
Effective September 1, 2018 Blythe, White & Associates, PLCC dba BlytheWhite has changed its name to Blythe CPAs, PLLC dba Blythe CPAs & Advisors.