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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 13151
Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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My uncle recently passed on leaving behind an ex wife and a

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My uncle recently passed on leaving behind an ex wife and a 28 year boy. The family wants to throw away all old tax filings (along with his junk). The ex left under very bad circumstances and does not want anything to do with his past. should I advise the kid to keep the tax papers or once someone is dead the tax papers do not need to be kept? If they need to be kept than how far back should he go.. They have over 40 years of records now..

Robin D :

Hello and thank you for using Just Answer

Robin D :

The IRS advises keeping tax returns for at least 3 years. If any of the returns contanes information that dealt with business or any forms that would show tax deferred amounts from IRAs (this would most likely be a Form 8606 and not before year 1998) then tohose should be kept as well for additional time preferably until those accounts have been distributed and are showing on the beneficiaries returns.

You must keep your records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. Generally, this means you must keep records that support items shown on your return until the period of limitations for that return runs out.

The period of limitations is the period of time in which you can amend your return to claim a credit or refund or the IRS can assess additional tax. Table 3 contains the periods of limitations that apply to income tax returns. Unless otherwise stated, the years refer to the period beginning after the return was filed. Returns filed before the due date are treated as being filed on the due date.


Table 3. Period of Limitations

IF you...THEN the
period is...
1Owe additional tax and
(2), (3), and (4) do not
apply to you
3 years
2Do not report income that
you should and it is more
than 25% of the gross
income shown on your
6 years
3File a fraudulent returnNo limit
4Do not file a returnNo limit
5File a claim for credit or
refund after you filed
your return
The later of 3 years or 2 years after tax was paid.
6File a claim for a loss from
worthless securities
7 years

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