If you’re going to file a claim or take a deduction, you’d better have the paperwork to back it up. Unless you’re living in the 123-room Spelling Manor, you probably don’t have space to store massive amounts of tax and insurance paperwork, warranties, and repair receipts related to your home. But you’ll definitely want your paperwork at hand if you have to prove you deserved a tax deduction, file an insurance claim, or figure out if your busted oven is still under warranty.
Except for tax paperwork, there’s no official guideline governing exactly how long you have to keep most home-related documents. Lucky for you, we considered the situations in which you might need documents and came up with a handy “How Long to Keep It” home records checklist.
First, a little background on IRS rules, which informed some of our charts:
The IRS says you should keep tax returns and the paperwork supporting them for at least three years after you file the return — the amount of time the IRS has to audit you. So that’s how long we advise in our charts. Check with your state about state income tax, though. Some make you keep tax records a really long time: In Ohio, it’s 10 years. The IRS can also ask for records up to six years after a filing if they suspect someone failed to report 25% or more of his gross income. And the agency never closes the door on an audit if it suspects fraud. (Houselogic)