How Long Do I Need to Keep Old Checks?

The length of time in which you should keep old checks varies depending on why the check was written. The following recommendations will help you decide whether to hang on to your old checks or throw them away.

Non-Tax-Deductible Expenses

Keep any check that was written toward a non-tax-deductible expense at least six months to one year. Some people prefer keeping them for three years. You will need these checks in case there is a dispute about a payment you made.

Tax-Deductible Expenses

Keep any check that was written toward a tax-deductible expense at least seven years. You will need these checks in case the Internal Revenue Service audits you. Under normal circumstances the IRS has three years to audit you. However, if you have reported your gross income 25 percent or more below what it actually was, the IRS has seven years to perform an audit.

Home Improvements

Keep any check that was written toward home improvements for as long as you own the home. You will need these checks to show proof of improvements so that you might receive a higher profit if you sold the home.

Where to Keep Old Checks

Old checks can be kept in a file within your home where you hold your other documents and records.

Digital Checks

Many banks now provide digital images of your canceled checks instead of mailing them to you.