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How long do you need to keep tax documents: IRS recommendations

You do not need to keep tax returns forever, but it is wise to keep them handy for several years. Writes about it Business Insider.

Фото: Depositphotos

In general, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommends storing copies of declarations for at least three years; you will need them if you need to be verified.

Most of the inspections are related to tax refunds filed over the past two years, but the IRS can also check another period if the situation requires it. However, audits should not be a concern for most taxpayers. Less than 1% of tax returns are audited by the IRS.

With your tax documents on hand, you can easily fill out an application for a mortgage or a free application for federal student assistance (FAFSA). You will also need the adjusted income (AGI) from the previous year's tax return to prove your identity when submitting your current tax return.

On the subject: 6 ways to get free tax filing assistance

If you file the same returns every year, your data is usually saved, but you should also download and save a copy. Your tax and tax refund statements contain very confidential information that fraudsters can use to verify your identity.

The IRS also recommends storing documents used to fill out your tax return, including your W-2 or 1099, as well as any investment and bank statements. Records of health insurance should be kept, including documentation of insurance coverage provided by the employer and data on payment of insurance premiums.

In some tax situations, accounting is required up to 7 years.

For those with more complex tax returns, experts suggest keeping them for six years due to the low income limit set by IRS. Under this rule, the IRS extends the inspection period to six years, when there are significant gaps in revenue, 25% or more.

On the subject: The Devil's Dozen: IRS Recommendations for Protection Against 12 Tax Fraud Schemes

The IRS recommends storing tax documents related to real estate for up to seven years after the sale. Documents requiring proof of loss of securities or deduction of bad debts should also be kept for seven years after filing a tax return.

If you lost or accidentally threw away your old tax return, you can request a copy of the last six years from the IRS by filling out Form 4506 and sending it by mail. The copy fee is $ 50, and it can take up to 75 days to get it.

But tax statements are free and available online for five to ten days for the current tax year and, as a rule, the previous three years. A tax return transcript will show most items, including your AGI and any additional forms or schedules submitted, but it will not show any changes or amendments to the original tax return.

Other transcripts, such as a salary and income statement and tax statement, may provide tax information for the past 10 years.

In the event that you dispose of old tax returns, make sure that the documents are properly destroyed in order to protect against identity theft.

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