Tax Tips: How long should I keep my tax records?

The general rule of thumb for tax records is to keep everything for at least three years, but there are some things you should keep longer. Throughout the year, I recommend that you keep your pay stubs, mortgage statements, bank statements, home purchase and renovation receipts, investment account statements and receipts for anything that might be used on your tax return.

Once you receive your W-2, you can throw out the pay stubs. Once you receive your 1098 for mortgage interest paid, you can discard your monthly mortgage statements. Most of the other documents mentioned above should be kept with your tax return for the three year period. Items related to your home purchase, rental property purchase, or major renovation should be kept until you sell the property.

Anything that has been deducted on the tax return should have documentation in your files, in case the IRS ever questions it. You may have heard that you should keep your records for seven years, rather than the three years I've mentioned above. Three years is the time frame during which the IRS can audit your tax return, while seven years is generally the time period during which the IRS can bring a criminal tax fraud case against you. Since most of us aren't engaged in serious tax fraud, we probably don't need to maintain our records for seven years. Some people still like to be cautious though, and keep the records for the longer period.

You can find more information about good recordkeeping practices at the IRS website.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

How Bonuses Are Taxed

Working hard all year to help your company meet its annual goals deserves a reward, and you've definitely earned that bonus. But bonuses count toward your income for the year, so they're subject to income taxes. Read on to learn how much tax you can expect to pay on your bonus—and for tips on reducing your tax liability.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Tax Reform Changes That Impact Your 2018 Taxes

With all of the buzz about the new Tax Reform many taxpayers are questioning how this will affect their 2018 tax return. These provisions kicked in on January 1, 2018, which means that they will impact your 2018 tax return.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

2018 Tax Reform Impact: What You Should Know

Congress has passed the largest piece of tax reform legislation in more than three decades. The bill went into place on January 1, 2018, which means that it will affect the taxes of most taxpayers for the 2018 tax year.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Video: What Are Income Taxes?

Income taxes are a percentage of money that you pay to the government based on every dollar of taxable income. Learn about income taxes with help from TurboTax in this video on tax tips.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com
Read Full Story