With tax season behind us, now is a good time to dispose of old returns and supporting documents, but when it is safe to shred tax documents? The IRS offers general guidance on how long you should keep your tax documents and when you can safely shred them.

Please note, the length of time you should keep a document depends on the action, expense, or event which the document records, according to the IRS. Before disposing of old documents, carefully review the IRS recordkeeping guides and consult your tax professional. 


Keep 1 year from the filing date

  • Pay stubs 
  • Regular statements, e.g., bank, credit cards, brokerage (digital or hard copies)


Keep 3-7 years from the filing date

  • Tax Returns & supporting documents
  • W2-2 forms
  • 1099 and 1098 forms
  • Receipts from charitable contributions
  • Contributions to tax-deductible retirement savings accounts (IRAs)
  • All receipts and business expenses


Never Toss

  • Birth and death certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Marriage and divorce certificates
  • Life insurance policies
  • Wills and trust documents 

While the IRS recommends keeping your tax returns and supporting documents for three years after the date of filing, consult your tax advisor before shredding any of your old tax documents. Periods of limitation for keeping tax returns and related documents vary depending on circumstances, such as under-reporting income, claiming a loss for bad debt or worthless securities or if your records are connected to property. Refer to the IRS' guidance on what records you should keep and how long you should keep records and consult your tax advisor.

When it is safe for you declutter your old paperwork, take advantage of free professional document shredding at Security Bank's Community Shred Day, offered annually in May. Click here for details.