With tax season upon us, it’s time to make more space available for your already overflowing filing cabinet for another bulky file folder. Even if you have embraced electronic filing and store records digitally on your computer, it can be a messy, cumbersome job. The good news is some of your records can be discarded after a certain amount of time. We’ve checked with the online experts to see what needs to stay and what can go permanently! Consider shredding as well.

Taxes. To be on the safe side, save your tax returns and supporting tax documents for seven years. But technically this length of time is only needed in specific cases that are listed on the IRS site. If you file a simple return, you may only have to save it for three years. There’s no need to keep all of your tax records forever.

Utility bills. These only need to be saved for one month if you’re not using them as a tax deduction. As soon as you have verified – either through your bank or credit card statement – they’ve been paid, they can be disposed of.

Bank statements. Bank statements should be kept for one year either in paper form or digitally.

Credit card statements. You can discard your credit card statements after one year. If you have major purchases, however, that you may want to refer back to for warranty or personal reasons, keep that specific bill for as long as you own the item or need.

Pay stubs. You should hang on to your pay stubs for one year. Once you’ve verified the amount with your W-2 at tax time, they can then be discarded.

Insurance policies. Keep current insurance policies in a safe place in your home (think fire box or safe) or a grab and go bag, in the event you need to take them quickly with you. All old policies for property and cars, however, can be discarded. 

Medical records and bills. When it comes to your actual health history you can either keep the records, or at the very least, keep a personal diary up to date with medical conditions (past and present), vaccines, illnesses, medication, etc. For medical bills, hang on to those for 10 years because insurance companies will do the same. If you need to dispute a charge, having the appropriate medical bill and notation of payment will be helpful.

If you are continuing your search for a new home, please know Cornerstone Communities is still building homes in San Diego County. To see our homes, we are offering virtual tours on our website, you can chat with us online or we can schedule a private in-person appointment with you.