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Knowing which financial records to keep, toss

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If the memory of hours spent hunting for and organizing paperwork to file your taxes is still fresh, think about doing some financial spring cleaning so next year’s tax preparation won’t be such an ordeal.
Many people hold onto mounds of receipts and account statements because they’re not sure when it’s safe to toss them.
(By toss, I mean shred – don’t give identity thieves any ammunition.)
 Here’s when you wouldn’t want to lack proper documentation:
• If audited by the IRS you must be able to justify deductions, charitable contributions, income, etc.
• Track stock and fund transactions so when you sell you’ll only be taxed on profits above the purchase amount; also to justify claiming a loss on your taxes.
• To claim tax credits/deductions for home improvements, such as energy-efficiency upgrades or for medical reasons.
• If you make nondeductible (after-tax) contributions to an IRA or 401(k), to prove you’ve already paid taxes on the amount.
• Your heirs will need your financial documents to settle your estate.
The IRS has several periods of limitations during which you can be asked to produce records proving income, deductions or credits you claimed:


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