How Long Should You Keep Documents?

how long to keep business documents

These are the current operating costs of running your business. To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your field of business, trade, or profession.

You also don’t need to keep documentation if it’s for a transportation expense and documentation isn’t easy to get. And if you have meals and lodging expenses that you report under an accountable plan for a per-diem allowance, you won’t need to keep your receipts. So unless you’re deducting too much, withholding income, or severely how long to keep business documents under-calculating, then you should be in the clear. This can happen when you’re making investments, accept cash payments, or do business in other ways that can make calculating your income difficult. This is because there’s a statute of limitations that states the IRS can extend tax assessments up to six years after it’s filing.

Your Business Deserves the Very Best

Go to to see your options for preparing and filing your return online or in your local community, if you qualify, which include the following. Henry reconciles his checkbook with his bank statement and prepares a bank reconciliation for January as follows. These sample records should not be viewed as a recommendation of how to keep your records. They are intended only to show how one business keeps its records.

If you claim deductions from worthless securities or bad debt, you need to hang onto records for seven years. If you decide not to file a return, you must keep your records indefinitely. And the IRS also notes that you should keep your business records indefinitely if you file a fraudulent return. If you fail to report all of your gross income on your tax returns, the government has six years to collect the tax or start legal proceedings. To be on the safe side, McBride says to keep all tax records for at least seven years.

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