Publication 583 - How Long to Keep Records
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 an item of income or deduction on a
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 below 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.
Keep copies of your filed tax returns. They help in preparing future tax returns and making computations if you
file an amended return.
Employment taxes. If you have employees, you must keep all employment tax records for at least 4 years after
the date the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later. For more information about recordkeeping for
employment taxes, see Publication 15.
Assets. Keep records relating to property until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose
of the property in a taxable disposition. You must keep these records to figure any depreciation, amortization, or
depletion deduction, and to figure your basis for computing gain or loss when you sell or otherwise dispose of the
Generally, if you received property in a nontaxable exchange, your basis in that property is the same as the basis
of the property you gave up, increased by any money you paid. You must keep the records on the old property, as
well as on the new property, until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the new
property in a taxable disposition.
Records for nontax purposes. When your records are no longer needed for tax purposes, do not discard them
until you check to see if you have to keep them longer for other purposes. For example, your insurance company
or creditors may require you to keep them longer than the IRS does.
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