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Keeping tax records

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Updated: 3/07/2005 12:10 pm
If you're ever audited, your best defense will be a good set of records to back up your returns. But what should you keep, and for how long? Generally, you should keep all your records for three years after filing, which is the statute of limitation for the IRS (I-R-S) to assess how much money you owe and after which no legal action can be taken. If the IRS finds that you have any unreported income that's more than 25 percent of the income noted on your return, they have up to six years to bring legal action against you. It's a good idea to keep a diary of deductible items throughout the year as well as a file of your bills. Checkbook stubs are useful records, and if you own a business, you must keep a complete set of account books. Among the other records to keep are receipts regarding contributions to IRAs, records of moving expenses, loans, and receipts for contributions to charities? And, any records regarding buying and selling of real estate must be kept for as long as you own the property. These tips are provided to give you general information about your taxes. If you have specific questions, please consult a tax advisor or call the toll-free number for Federal Tax Information and Assistance at 1-800-829-1040.
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