What to Do With Your Tax Records after Filing

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Now that you have filed your tax return and are ready to close the books on 2013, what do you do with all the leftover paperwork? What information should you save, how should you save it, and for what length of time? Use these tips for easy organization and peace of mind.

What information do I need to keep?

Generally, you should keep a copy of your return and all related documents. That includes any record of income (W-2s, 1099s, K-1s), expenses, property value, and deductions (mortgage interest statements and receipts for medical expenses and charitable donations).

Having a copy of this year's return will come in handy at tax time next year. You'll need information from this year's return in order to e-file next year; plus, you'll be able to easily compare returns to help make sure you didn't forget something.

How long do I need to keep these records?

The IRS recommends saving all tax information for at least three years after the date you filed your return. The IRS generally has three years to audit tax returns (state agencies have four years), but has six years if they suspect you've underreported income by at least 25 percent. In the unlikely event of an audit, having written documentation can help settle any disputes easily and quickly.

Is it better to save paper or electronic copies?

Saving paper or electronic copies – or both – comes down to personal preference. Both types can be saved in multiple locations.

Paper copies are advantageous if your computer becomes corrupted. Digital copies can be saved on your computer, external drive, CD or secure website, which may be safer from natural disasters.

TaxAct recommends saving both printed and digital copies (as a PDF) of returns.

What if I forgot to print or save my TaxAct Online return?

Current year TaxAct Online returns can be accessed through October 31, allowing you to print, save, or edit your return at any time.

After October 31, the IRS will charge you $50 for a copy of a previous year return. TaxAct Online customers can continue accessing returns for up to three more years by purchasing TaxAct's Data Archive Service (DAS) for a small fee.

Whether you choose a filing cabinet or secure website, choose one recordkeeping method and stick with it.

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Upcoming Tax Dates

March 1 — Farmers & fishermen
File your 2017 income tax return (Form 1040) and pay any tax due Details

March 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during February, report them to your employer Details

March 15 — S Corporations
File a 2017 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due Details

March 15 — S Corporation election
File Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, to elect to be treated as an S corporation beginning with calendar year 2017. If Form 2553 is filed late, S corporation treatment will begin with calendar year 2018.

March 15 — Partnerships
File a 2017 calendar year return (Form 1065) Details

March 15 — Electing larger partnerships
Provide each partner with a copy of Schedule K1 (Form 1065B), Partner's Share of Income (Loss) From an Electing Large Partnership, or a substitute Schedule K1. This due date applies even if the partnership requests an extension of time to file the Form 1065B by filing Form 7004

March 15 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2017 calendar year return (Form 1065-B) Details

March 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule Page 6 Publication 509 applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.

March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms W2
File copies of all the Forms W2 you issued for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.

March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms W2G
File copies of all the Forms W2G you issued for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.

March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms 8027
File Forms 8027 for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.

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