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Keep Good Records Now to Reduce Tax-Time Stress new 7/26/11

Issue Number: IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2011-23 [from the IRS web site]

You may not be thinking about your tax return right now, but summer is a great time to start planning for next year. Organized records not only make preparing your return easier, but may also remind you of relevant transactions, help you prepare a response if you receive an IRS notice, or substantiate items on your return if you are selected for an audit.

Here are a few things the IRS wants you to know about recordkeeping.

1. In most cases, the IRS does not require you to keep records in any special manner. Generally, you should keep any and all documents that may have an impact on your federal tax return. It's a good idea to have a designated place for tax documents and receipts.

2. Individual taxpayers should usually keep the following records supporting items on their tax returns for at least three years:

You should normally keep records relating to property until at least three years after you sell or otherwise dispose of the property. Examples include:

3. If you are a small business owner, you must keep all your employment tax records for at least four years after the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later. Examples of important documents business owners should keep Include:

For more information about recordkeeping, check out IRS Publication 552, Recordkeeping for Individuals, Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records, and Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses. These publications are available at www.IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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