How to Dispose of Tax Returns

No matter what tax bracket you are in or what you do for a living, it is important to store your tax returns properly. The IRS has the right to go back three years or more to examine your tax records, and it is important that you have that information on hand if it is needed. But when those tax records are no longer needed, it is just as important to dispose of them properly. Improper disposal of your tax returns could leave you open to identity theft, so it is crucial to shred those personal documents.

Scan your tax returns to an electronic format if you need to preserve them. If you use a tax preparation software package, you will be able to save your tax returns as PDF documents before printing them. If you do your taxes on paper or pay a tax preparer, you can use a scanner to preserve those documents on your computer.

Save your old tax returns on an external hard drive or thumb drive. If you prefer you can also upload your old tax returns to an external backup service. Just make sure that the service you choose provides strong encryption for these highly personal documents.

Gather your old tax returns, as well as the supporting documentation that goes with them. Use a personal shredder to shred the returns before putting them out with the trash.