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Which tax records to keep and which to toss

Modified: Sunday, Apr 27th, 2014


Dear Julia: I just filed my taxes for 2013 and am planning to clean out my old files. What records should I keep, and what can I safely toss? – Buried in stacks of paperwork

Dear Buried in stacks of paperwork: It is smart to keep your tax returns indefinitely. Old returns can provide important background information in a variety of situations, for example, if you’re applying for a mortgage, applying for disability insurance or trying to figure out your cost basis of investments. Also, keep records of your home’s purchase price and major home improvements for three years after you sell your home. It’s a good idea to keep records of stock and mutual fund purchases made in taxable accounts for as long as you hold the investments. The records will come in handy when you sell shares and must report the purchase price, date of purchase and number of shares involved. Additionally, hang onto records of any stock or mutual fund dividends you’ve reinvested so you can avoid paying taxes on them again when you withdraw the money.

For the complete article see the 04-23-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-23-2014 paper.


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