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12 Recordkeeping Guidelines to get Organized in 2017.

 

 

Tax Returns - You should have eight tabs, one for each of the last seven years plus one for the current year. Mark the year on each tab and put all of that year's important tax documents, such as W-2 forms, 1099s and a copy of all tax returns you filed for that year inside. If you have used a tax-preparer in the past, you may need to request back copies. Keep old tax records for at least seven years as this is the IRS's statute of limitations for audits. If the IRS suspects tax evasion, there is no limit to how far they can go back.

 

Retirement Accounts - Create a tab for each retirement account you and your partner own. Be sure to create separate tabs for IRAs and 401(k) plans labeling each tab with the owner's name. Inside you will want to file your quarterly statements. If you receive a "year-end summary" you may replace the quarterlies for that year. If you have a company retirement account be sure to retain your enrollment information, which includes your investment options. These should be reviewed regularly.

 

Social Security - Put your most recent social securities benefits statement in this section. If you haven't received one in the mail, go online to www.sss.gov to request one. If you do not have internet access, call 1-800-772-1213.

 

Investment Accounts - In this section, you need tabs for each investment account you and your partner own. If you own accounts individually as well as jointly, you need a tab for each registration. Behind these tabs you will want to file all statements as well as trade confirmations. If you receive a "year-end summary" you may choose to replace these items with the summary each year.

 

Checking and Savings Accounts - If you own separate checking and savings accounts, create a separate tab for each of them. Place your monthly statements behind these tabs. Store these with tax receipts/records at yearend.

 

Household Accounts - If you own your home, you should have the following tabs:  Deed, behind which should be a copy of your deed (the original should be in your safe deposit box - if you cannot locate your deed, call your real estate agent or Title Company); Home Improvements, behind which will be copies of all receipts for home improvements (home improvements can be added to the basis of your house when you sell it - you should keep these receipts as long as you own your home); and, Mortgage behind which you should place your mortgage statements. If you rent, these tabs should contain your lease, receipt for your security deposit and receipts for monthly rent.

 

Credit Card Debt - Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com to request a copy of your credit reports. You are entitled to receive one free report from all 3 Credit Bureaus each year. Be sure to update this information at least annually.

 

"Other" Liabilities - Any debt that has not already been labeled goes here. For example student loans, car loans and personal loans. Each debt should have its own tab behind which should be your note and payment record.

 

Insurance - Create tabs for each insurance policy including life, health, dental, car, homeowners or renters, disability, long-term care, etc. Include your policy and payment records behind the corresponding tabs.

 

Family Will or Trust - Place a copy of your most recent will or living trust behind this tab along with the contact information of the attorney who drafter the documents. The original should be kept in your safe deposit box.

 

Children's Accounts - Create tabs for college savings accounts or other investment accounts that have been established for your children. Place all statements and records pertaining to each account behind the corresponding tab.

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