How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Lev Your Own Question

Lev
Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 22704
Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
870116
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Lev is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How long does the IRS require me to keep personal tax records

Customer Question

How long does the IRS require me to keep personal tax records and receipts. And how long if for business tax records.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 2 years ago.
Hello, THANK YOU for choosing Just Answer. My goal is to help make your life...a little...LESS taxing.

In brief, a maximum of 7 years, but it depends. SEE BELOW:

--------------------------------------------------

The length of time you should keep a document depends on the action, expense, or event the document records. Generally, you must keep your records that support an item of income or deductions on a tax 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 tax return to claim a credit or refund, or that the IRS can assess additional tax. The below information contains the periods of limitations that apply to income tax returns. Unless otherwise stated, the years refer to the period after the return was filed. Returns filed before the due date are treated as filed on the due date.

Note: Keep copies of your filed tax returns. They help in preparing future tax returns and making computations if you file an amended return.

You owe additional tax and situations (2), (3), and (4), below, do not apply to you; keep records for 3 years.;

You do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return; keep records for 6 years.;

You file a fraudulent return; keep records indefinitely.;

You do not file a return; keep records indefinitely.;

You file a claim for credit or refund* after you file your return; keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
You file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction; keep records for 7 years.;

Keep all employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date that the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.

------------------------------------------------

You can refer to the following for more detailed information:

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98513,00.html
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Well, you made that pretty complicated. I assume by reading your answer, that there isn't any fruaudulent returns and that I filed everything on time and do not expect to amend any of them, 3 years is the right answer.

 

Didn't understand this comment though, don't know what those numbers referred to:

 

"You owe additional tax and situations (2), (3), and (4), below, do not apply to you; keep records for 3 years"

Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, it wasn't my intent to make things complicated, my intent was to give you a detailed answer to minimize the going back and forth.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

You didn't answer the question:

 

Didn't understand this comment though, don't know what those numbers referred to:

 

"You owe additional tax and situations (2), (3), and (4), below, do not apply to you; keep records for 3 years"

 

What is (2, (3) and (4) refer to.

Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 2 years ago.
As I do not want to complicate matters for you any further, I have released the question so that another expert may assist you.

Thank you.
Expert:  Lev replied 2 years ago.
Hi and welcome to Just Answer!
You asked - How long does the IRS require me to keep personal tax records and receipts. And how long if for business tax records.
The issue is that there is no specific requirements for time period which we should keep tax record. Instead - that is each taxpayer's responsibility to determine how long to keep tax records. The same is true for business records.

As a general rule - the IRS has three year statue of limitation to assess additional tax liability - starting from the date when the tax return was due - that means if the taxpayer is audited within three years - he/she is required to provide supporting documents for income and deduction items. As long as the IRS is limited by the law to assess additional tax liability - no tax record required.
Thus for 2007 tax year - assuming the tax return was timely filled - the statute of limitation run out on Apr 15, 2011 - and no tax record is needed. The same is true for business tax records.

While the general rule is three years - there are many situations when records should be kept longer. Again - that is our responsibility to determine what and how long to keep.
For instance if you purchased a property in 2000 and sold it in 2010. Because to calculate capital gain on your 2010 tax return you should use the basis of the property - you need to keep all records related to that property starting from 2000 to support your purchase price, improvement expenses, etc - and keep these documents at least till Apr 15, 2014 - after that date the IRS would not be able to challenge your 2010 tax return.
Please consider the information above only as illustration - there are many other circumstances that might affect the time period of keeping records.

The IRS specifically addressed this question in this article - http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98513,00.html
In previous expert reply (2, (3) and (4) are referred to ordered list items in this article.

The bottom line is that the IRS doesn't set any specific time period neither for individual nor for businesses - instead we as taxpayers based on ability for the IRS to assess additional tax liability should determine which tax documents to keep.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
< Last | Next >
  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
  • I WON!!! I just wanted you to know that your original answer gave me the courage and confidence to go into yesterday's audit ready to fight. Bonnie Chesnee, SC
  • Great service. Answered my complex tax question in detail and provided a lot of additional useful information for my specific situation. John Minneapolis, MN
  • Excellent information, very quick reply. The experts really take the time to address your questions, it is well worth the fee, for the peace of mind they can provide you with. Orville Hesperia, California
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Wallstreet Esq.

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    570
    10 years experience
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KU/KUMI95/2013-9-30_195031_kumar.64x64.jpg Wallstreet Esq.'s Avatar

    Wallstreet Esq.

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    570
    10 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CU/Cuttinggirl/2011-10-29_03719_wcrop2.64x64.jpg Wendy Reed's Avatar

    Wendy Reed

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    3052
    15+ years tax preparation and tax advice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CATax/2009-08-04_204548_Mark.jpg Mark D's Avatar

    Mark D

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    985
    MBA, EA, Specializing in Business and Individual Tax Returns and Issues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IN/insearchoftheanswer/2013-8-16_0233_attorney.64x64.jpg Richard's Avatar

    Richard

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3229
    29 years of experience as a tax, real estate, and business attorney.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MY/MyVirtualCPA/2012-7-5_44024_cookmegan1.64x64.jpg Megan C's Avatar

    Megan C

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    Satisfied Customers:

    6121
    Licensed CPA, CFE, CMA who teaches accounting courses at Master's Level
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JG/jgordosea/2012-6-7_43138_GordosVeritas.64x64.jpg jgordosea's Avatar

    jgordosea

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    2783
    I've prepared all types of taxes since 1987.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OZ/ozaukeecpa/2012-6-7_193219_Picture1croppedandshrunk.64x64.jpg MequonCPA's Avatar

    MequonCPA

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    Satisfied Customers:

    2231
    CPA, Over 30 yrs experience w/individuals and small businesses. Masters in Tax.