how to get your paperwork in order: step 1 + 2

One of the main reasons I started this blog is because I’m tired of all the ‘one-size fits all’ solutions out there for organizing, decorating, dressing… Solutions should be based on a person’s needs, budget, space, habits, and/or the amount of things in questions. By taking the following steps, I’m hoping you’ll find your perfect solution to handle your paperwork:
 
1. STOP UNWANTED PAPER FROM COMING IN THE DOOR
2. EDIT
3. SORT INTO CURRENT, REFERENCE, ARCHIVE
4. CREATE FILING SYSTEM
5. MAINTAIN
 
Step #1. Stop The Unwanted From Coming In The Door
I already talked about this step, so onto step 2…
 
Step #2. Edit
Simply stated, you need to keep anything related to taxes, insurance, and legal matters. The IRS has 6 years to question you about returns if they suspect underreported income but in cases of fraud, there is no time limitation. Therefore, it’s recommended you keep tax records at least 7 years.
 
Keep all uncomplicated Tax Returns for 7 years including all supporting documents; w-2’s, 1099’s, cancelled checks, bank deposit slips, bank statements, charitable contribution documentation, credit card statements, receipts, dairies and logs.
Keep retirement plan annual reports, IRA annual reports, IRA non-deductable contributions (form 8606), marriage and/or divorce documents, estate planning documents, adoption, birth and death certificates, and wills permanently.
 
The following paperwork should be kept for the ownership period + 7 years; investment purchases and sales slips, dividend reinvestment records, year-end brokerage statements, mutual fund annual statements, investment property purchase documents, home purchase documents, home improvement receipts and cancelled checks, home repair receipts and cancelled checks.
 
Loan paperwork should be kept for the term of the loan plus 7 years. Ask your insurance agent for how long you should keep any insurance policies after the life of the policy.
 
DISCLAIMER: I am a residential organizer, not commercial so the following info is for individuals only, also I am not a qualified financial advisor, attorney or CPA. If you have any further questions about what you should keep consult your qualified financial advisor, attorney and/or CPA.