Once in a while, I get a question from my clients on how long and what type of records they need to keep after they file their tax returns. Generally, you should keep any and all documents that may have an impact on your federal tax return. For example, it is a good idea to keep bills, credit card and other receipts, invoices, mileage logs, canceled, imaged or substitute checks, proofs of payment, and any other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return.
If you are self-employed, you are probably likely to keep a much larger pile of documents than other individual clients. The documents should generally include all revenue records, expense records, depreciation records, and so on. You should consult a tax professional on what type of records you should keep and how long.
Most individual taxpayers will need to keep their tax records for at least three years. Some documents – such as those related to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, business property records – should be preserved for a longer period of time.
Generally, I advise my clients to err on the side of keeping the documents.
If you have any questions on whether you should keep a given documents, you should consult your accountant or a tax attorney.