Reclaim your desk! Know what to trash and what to stash! According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance article, Keep all of your old tax returns, and hang on to the supporting documents for three years after a return’s filling due date – six years if you have self-employment income (some states require records from earlier years in an audit). For more on tax –related record-keeping, see IRS publication 552, Recordkeeping for Individuals.
Trash bank withdrawal and deposit slips, credit card receipts and ATM receipts once you’ve compared them with your monthly statement: paycheck stubs after you check them against your Form W-2: and monthly bills for utilities, cable and credit, unless you need them for tax purposes. Shred any documents that include your Social Security number, account numbers or other information you wouldn’t want in the hands of an identity thief.
Digitize your records to keep paper clutter to a minimum. Save PDFs or scanned images of files on your computer and back them up on the flash drive or external hard drive, or snap pictures of receipts with your smart phone – the Shoeboxed app (for iPhone and Android) will organize them as IRS – accepted images in a secure and searchable archive. Dropbox.com has a small fee, but excellent source.