How long should a taxpayer keep the federal income tax returns? This is a debatable topic but common sense can guide you through how long to keep tax returns.
We suggest keeping the records of tax returns for at least three years from the date the original return is filed. This is recommended for the federal income tax returns but for amended returns, keep records for at least 7 years. Especially if you claim a credit or a refund with the amended tax return. You might also want to keep records for ten years as the IRS will try to collect any unpaid tax for as far back as ten years.
If you haven’t kept a copy of your tax return, you might want to request one from the IRS. Although it costs $50 per copy including the tax forms used with the return, you can request the copy of a previously filed tax return at almost any time. So there isn’t a time limit that applies to it and if you ever need to see what you claimed on a previously filed tax return.
Overall, keep tax returns for at least three years after the date filed or two years after the payment made, whichever is later. It’s perfectly fine to keep a record of all the tax returns you filed in a secure folder. You can also scan your tax return and keep copies electronically which would save you both space and time. Plus, it’s a lot more convenient to keep digital copies as they won’t get lost or get damaged.