How Long Should You Keep Federal Tax Information?

by Lexa W. Lee

Keeping Your Tax Records

According to the Internal Revenue Service, you should keep your records "for as long as they are important" or until the period of limitations expires. Tax records include what you owe on income or property, or whether you submit claims for credits or refunds.

Period of Limitations Varies

The period of limitations varies according to the type of tax. For records of what you owe, the time period is three years from when you filed the return. For a refund or claim, it is three years from when you first filed, or two years from when you paid the tax, whichever is the later date. For property tax, the period is for however long you own the property.

Bottom Line

It's a good idea to keep copies of your past tax returns as well as the tax forms for those years because you may need them for future reference. You can also request these documents from the IRS by using Form 4506.

About the Author

Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.

Photo Credits

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