Keep, Shred or Recycle? Making a Clean Sweep of Your Home Office

Bills, statements, warranties, documents… they pile up!  Most people don’t get around to cleaning out the home office, but why not carve out 15 minutes a day for a week?  The generally-accepted rules of thumb below can help you decide what should stay or what should go.  Remember to toss non-personal papers, but shred documents containing personal information to protect against identity theft. When cleaning out that home office of yours, be sure to follow the below rules of thumb.

Tax and Earnings Records
NOTE 6 Mo. 3 Years 5 Years 7 Years Other
All Returns IRS has 3-6 years to audit       x
Proof of Filing IRS has 3-6 years to audit       x
Payment of taxes IRS has 3-6 years to audit       x
Tax-Reporting Documents IRS has 3-6 years to audit       x
W-2s Keep until receiving Social Security        x
Last 3 Paystubs Often used to prove residency or for loan documents        x
Financial and Insurance Records
NOTE 1 year 3 years 5 years 7 years Other
Bank/CC Statements Keep for year prior, unless online       x
Bank/CC Statements If supporting a tax deduction        x
Investment Statements To substantiate any gain/loss in the case of audit        x
Quarterly Retirement Plan Statements Keep until you confirm they match annual statements        x
Retirement Plan Summaries Keep until account closure        x
IRA Contribution Records Permanently, to prove you made non-deductible contributions        x
Prospectuses and Privacy Notices Until available online        x
ATM Receipts Toss after seen on a bank statement        x
Insurance Records Keep in case a claim is filed within the Statue of Limitations        x
Life Insurance Policies 3 or more years past the life of the policy         x
Medical Insurance Records In case of future, related issues         x
Bills, Receipts, Proof of Ownerships, and Warranties
NOTE 3 mo. 1 year 7 years Forever Other
Utility Bills 3 mos for proof of residency; 7 years to support a tax deduction       x          x
Medical Bills 3 mos for insurance; 7 years if enough to itemize on your taxes       x          x
Everyday Receipts 1 year to cover warranty, 7 years if supporting a tax deduction        x          x
Receipts for Expensive Items         x
Proof of Ownership 7 years after sold if you believe a future buyer might want them         x        x
Home and Vehicle Records
NOTE 7 years post- sale Length of Ownership Forever Other
Home Insurance Records Keep in the event of a claim filed within Statue of Limitations       x
Home Mortgage Documentation Forever, or until paid off          x
Home Repairs/Improvs. Records Permanently if you think a future buyer might want them         x          x
Vehicle Records           x
Vital Personal Records and Estate Planning Documents
  NOTES Forever
Vital Records (birth, marriage, death certificates, etc.) Keep originals in a safe-deposit box with an accessible hard/e-copy            x
Estate Planning Documents Keep originals in a safe-deposit box with an accessible hard/e-copy            x


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Important Disclosure: This content is for informational purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Beacon Pointe has exercised all reasonable professional care in preparing this information. Some information may have been obtained from third-party sources we believe to be reliable; however, Beacon Pointe has not independently verified, or attested to, the accuracy or authenticity of the information. Nothing contained herein should be construed or relied upon as investment, legal or tax advice. Only private legal counsel may recommend the application of this general information to any particular situation or prepare an instrument chosen to implement the design discussed herein. An investor should consult with their financial professional before making any investment decisions.

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