How long should I retain my income tax information in the US? Should I retain all my deduction evidences as long as I keep my W-2 and return paperwork?

1 Answer 1


Here's the official IRS info for individuals (scroll down to table 3, Period of Limitations)

Personally, I keep everything for 7 years just to be safe. Seems like most people should be able to get away with just 3 years though.

  • 1
    So I never understood the 7 years rule. The rule (from irs.gov) is that you should keep stuff for 7 years unless you commit fraud. If they audit you at 10 years, doesn't the IRS think you committed fraud and therefore you should have kept your records?
    – Alex B
    Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 17:41
  • 3
    @Alex - Thats a toughy. Obviously if they audit you at 10 years it would be because they think you committed fraud. But if you were committing fraud, why would you ever keep the documentation that would prove it? Seems like one of those paradoxes that only the government could come up with. Commented Aug 10, 2010 at 18:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .