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Tis the Season! What to Keep and What to Shred

The end of the year is a good time to check in on your financial plan. It’s also a good time to go through documents accumulated over the course of the year and determine what you need to save and what can be shredded! With sustainability in mind, a good first step is to go paperless when possible. Then, have a system in place. Here are a few tips to help you get organized:

  • Make sure you request PDF copies of important documents, like your tax returns.
  • Establish a filing system on your computer.
  • Have a scanner or scanning app in place. Here is a good article reviewing scanning apps for your phone.
  • Since computer hardware can go bad, have a backup storage system in place. We have a “vault” offering in our client portal that allows clients to store and save files securely and it’s not on their home desktop!
  • When you are ready to get rid of documents, shredding is the best option to protect yourself from identity theft. Especially if any personal information or account numbers are on the document.

Start preparing for next year’s tax season now

In December, we spent a lot of time syncing up with our client’s tax advisors to ensure we were taking advantage of every opportunity to be tax efficient for our clients this year. Saving important documents and keeping your records organized will help make tax prep that much easier come March/April. Keep digital records of your tax return AND the below-supporting documents for three years. (There are a few circumstances when taxes should be kept longer; you can read more about them on the IRS website.)

  • Proof of income – dividends, interest, bank statements, brokerage statements, W-2s, mutual fund statements, and 1099s
  • Deductions – medical and dental expenses, childcare, and charitable giving
  • Receipts – invoices and mileage logs
  • Residential real estate– closing and tax documents. AND keep receipts for any home improvements that you have made each year on your home, so you can track its cost basis over time

Keep original hard copies of the below important records forever. Because photocopies or scanned images of these legal papers are usually not valid, store these originals in a safe place.

  • Marriage licenses, divorce, and custody decrees
  • Birth, adoption, and death certificates
  • Wills, trusts, and financial and medical powers of attorney
  • Passports and citizenship papers.
  • College transcripts and higher education records
  • Military records

Recommendations on other documents to keep and for how long. Here are some additional documents we highlight for our clients to keep that may not always be top of mind.

Getting and staying financially organized is an ongoing process that requires time and insight into the latest tax laws and legislative changes. At Artemis Financial Advisors, we can help you stay up to date on all the current events, economic, and geopolitical changes that could affect your financial plan and your portfolio. Whether you have $500 or $500 million, getting organized is one of the first steps towards improved financial health. We are here to help.

Kathleen McQuiggan
Kathleen McQuiggan
Kathleen is a Partner and Wealth Advisor at Artemis Financial Advisors LLC. She has 30+ years of experience in the financial services industry. Her specialties include the financial planning needs of women and employing sustainable investing approaches. She considers herself a financial ally, helping clients make strategic wealth plans.

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