Judging from the vast number of "getting organized" materials available, I don't think I am the only one
who can't seem to get to the top of my paperwork.
Maybe these REAL SIMPLE guidelines will help me out. And hopefully, if your finances are simple and you suffer from paper overload and uncertainty, they will help you also.
TOSS --- each month
- ATM, bank deposit slips, and credit card receipts, after you have checked them against your statements.
- Sales receipts for minor purchases, unless the receipt is for an item that has a warranty.
TOSS --- after one year
- Monthly bank and credit-card statements, if you don't itemize deductions.
- Monthly quarterly brokerage and mutual-fund statements.
- Monthly mortgage statements (if your year-end statement shows the total amount of interest and property taxes you've paid throughout the year).
- Phone and utility bills if you don't have a home office, use the phone for business calls, or anticipate any need to prove long-term residency.
- Paycheck stubs after they are reconciled with your annual W-2 or 1099.
KEEP --- for seven years
- W-2 and 1099 forms
- Year-end statements from credit card companies
- Phone and utility bills (if you deduct any portion for business, have more than one home, or have moved within the past few years.
- Cancelled checks and receipts/statements for annual mortgage interest and property taxes, deductible business expenses, child-care bills, out-of-pocket medical costs, or any other tax deductible expense.
KEEP --- Indefinitely
- Annual tax returns
- Year-end summaries from financial services companies
- Confirmation slips listing the purchase price of any investments you own.
- Home-improvement records
- Receipts for major purchases.
Note: These are simple guidelines for simple household expenses as suggested by REAL SIMPLE magazine. If your finances are not this simple or if you have any questions or concerns, you should check with your accountant.