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How to Organize Your Most Essential Records and Documents

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By taking the time to organize your financial records now, you'll be able to find exactly what you need next year when the 2023 tax season rolls around.  

The good news, there are plenty of online tools to help you stay organized. And, if you aren't so good at all-things-digital that's ok too.  Experts say there are plenty of tried-and-true methods to.

“Whatever it is, you do need some sort of system where you can label things," say experts at TurboTax. 

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"There are some important points to consider when determining what documents to keep and how long to keep those documents,' according to Bill Morgan, Advance Planning Advisor and CPA at . A big decision you need to make, should you shred It or save It? Watch the video for a few document-saving and organizing tips.

Video Transcript:

Looking to keep your most important documents organized and safe? Maybe you want to get ahead of next year's tax season? There's a lot to consider from which documents you keep to the length of time you should keep them!  Here are some strategies from the experts.

Keep documents that are hard to acquire, including:

  • Tax returns 
  • Legal contracts 
  • Insurance claims
  • Proof of identity

The next question big question is: how long should I keep financial records?

Records to keep for one year or less include:

  • Bank or credit union statements 
  • Credit card statements 
  • Utility bills 
  • Auto and homeowners insurance policies

Records to keep for more than a year include:

  • Tax returns and supporting documentation – keep these for at least 3 years after filing the return
  • Mortgage contracts – keep them until the mortgage is satisfied and you have proof of satisfaction
  • Property appraisals – keep these for as long as you own that property
  • Annual retirement and investment statements – keep annual statements but discard your monthly or quarterly reports
  • Receipts for major purchases and home improvements – keep these for at least 3 years after the property is sold

Finally, records to keep forever include: 

  • Birth, death, and marriage certificates 
  • Adoption records
  • Citizenship and military discharge papers
  • Social Security card

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