How Long Do I Need to Keep This? - A Guide to Receipts, Statements and Financial Clutter at Home

In most homes, paper causes clutter. And it seems to mysteriously multiply by itself. But just how long do you need to keep all those receipts, bank and credit card statements and other financial papers? Below is a handy reference that you can use for dealing with your home paper trail.

Toss after One Month

ATM and bank deposit/withdrawal slips

·keep in a file folder until monthly statement received

·reconcile with your statement to ensure that charges and payments have been properly processed

·if for major purchase with warranty, staple receipt to the owner's manual and file for the term of the warranty

·if for major purchase without warranty, keep receipt if item replacement cost is higher than the deductible on your homeowner's insurance policy

·if for minor purchase without warranty, shred

Cash purchase receipts

·enter into your chequebook or computer software to ensure that you are accounting for all your purchases

·if for major purchase with warranty, staple to the owner's manual and file for the term of the warranty

·if for major purchase without warranty, keep receipt if item replacement cost is higher than the deductible on your homeowner's insurance policy

·if for minor purchase without warranty, shred

Credit card receipts

·keep in file until monthly statement received

·reconcile with your statement to ensure charges and payments have been properly processed

·if for major purchase with warranty, staple to the owner's manual and file for the term of the warranty

·if for major purchase without warranty, keep receipt if item replacement cost is higher than the deductible on your homeowner's insurance policy

·if for minor purchase without warranty, shred

Toss after One Calendar Year

Bank/Financial Institution monthly statements (unless needed for home business)

Brokerage/Mutual Fund Statements (Monthly/Quarterly)

·reconcile with your annual statement

Credit card monthly statements

Credit reports

·you should request your credit report annually to ensure that all information is accurate and up-to-date, especially with regard to accounts you have closed in the course of the year

·requesting this file annually helps to prevent identity theft, so you can see who has requested the report and for what purpose

Monthly Mortgage Statements

·reconcile with your annual statement

Pay stubs

·shred after reconciling with your W-2 or 1099 (US) or T4 (Canada)

Telephone/Utility bills

Keep for 7-10 Years

Any T4 Forms ? including T4E, etc. (Canada)

Annual Mortgage Statements

Supporting documentation (cancelled cheques/receipts/statements) for tax returns including but not limited to:

·donations

·retirement account contributions

·child care receipts

·alimony/child support paid or received

·medical expenses

·mortgage interest

·property tax payments

W-2 or 1099 Forms (US)

Year End statements from Credit cards (if provided)

Year End statements from utility companies (if provided)

Keep Indefinitely

Adoption Records

Auto/Home/Life Insurance policy information

·keep purchase records for as long as policy is in force

Automobile Records (ownership certificate/registration)

·keep for as long as you own your vehicle

·if annual registration required, keep only current registration paper

Birth Certificates

Business Income Tax returns, and supporting documentation, if self-employed

Death Certificate

Divorce Agreement/Child Custody Court Orders

Investment records clearly showing beneficiary information

·purchase records

·sales records

Marriage Certificate

Medical records

·Immunization records to children

Military records

Pension Plan records

Receipts for major home improvements/renovations

Receipts for major purchases that have long life expectancy (refrigerator, stove, freezer, vehicles)

Religious records

School/Education records

Tax Returns

·In the US, the IRS has 3 years to from the date you file your tax return to examine your return for errors and up to 6 years to audit your return if they suspect that you have underreported your gross income by 25% or more. There is no statute of limitations on an audit when deliberate fraud is suspected.

·In Canada, CRA advises you to keep your tax returns, Notices of Assessment, and all supporting documentation for 6 years from the date of filing your personal income tax return.

NOTE~I recommend keeping these indefinitely because they take up little space and can often be a valuable resource if there is any dispute over such things as income tax paid, child support/alimony paid or received and pension plan benefits.

Will and/or Power of Attorney

·should be kept securely in a fire-proof home safe or safety deposit box at your financial institution

Year End Investment account summaries

Now what?

Now that you know what to keep, where are you supposed to put it all?

Set up a simple home filing system to cover the basics, and invest in a couple of sturdy cardboard or plastic filing boxes for the information you should keep log-term or indefinitely.

And a final caution ? when you decide that you no longer need to keep certain documents, make sure you shred them and DO NOT put them in the general trash or recycling. Sensitive financial information or personal information should always be DESTROYED to avoid any chance of identity theft that could lead to headaches greater than you can imagine.

Written by Jill Chongva of Align Your Life Organizing ? Lasting Solutions for Real Life© http://www.vadiva.com Email ? [email protected] Telephone (204) 489 0932

Jill Chongva is the owner of Align Your Life Organizing based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her 15 years organizing experience, combined with her ability to multitask as the mother of 4 children under the age of 10, gives her a wide variety of skills, tips and tricks to offer her exclusive clientele. "Alignment Coaching" offers clients a non-judgemental and supportive forum for uncovering, and conquering, clutter issues.

© 2003-2005

References? Real Simple's "Getting Organized" booklet "Organizing from the Inside Out" ? Julie Morgenstern

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Marianne Williamson supporters organize 'occult task force' | TheHill  The HillSome supporters of 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson have reportedly organized an "occult task force" on her behalf, however, her campaign ...

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