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Sentimental yet sardonic [userpic]

Query

January 24th, 2010 (05:22 pm)

I now have a shredder.

I also have a large pile of paperwork that's built up over the years.

So, beloved flist, just what is the recommended length of time one should keep old bills, payslips and bank statements for anyway?

Comments

Posted by: tiger (tigerlily0484)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)

Time to keep old paperwork is directly proportionate to how badly you want to use the shredder to make confetti right now. ;)

(For a sensible answer, probably best to refer to someone else's comment)

Posted by: mymatedave (mymatedave)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)

I generally chuck out my paid bills after a couple of months.

Posted by: Brendan (brendanm720)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)

It depends on what it is, and what the laws in your country say. :-)

To be perfectly honest, I only ever keep four or so pay stubs, and I get rid of bills after I've paid them unless the company I'm dealing with is squirrelly.

Posted by: Zulu (zulu)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
house - truth seeker

This is a good question! I hope somebody knows.

Posted by: Kynaii (kynaii)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)

My mom.... who is a business-y type person keeps her records for 7 years. That's how far back the IRS can go if you get audited.

Posted by: brutti_ma_buoni (brutti_ma_buoni)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)

Yep. Technically six years plus one (the current one) is the UK accounting standard. We who are not accountants call that *seven* years. This applies to companies, but as far as I know is a decent guide for individuals too.

Bills almost certainly don't need to be kept that long unless you're claiming them as tax-deductible work expenses (which doesn't seem likely in your case since you're not working from home. The odd mobile bill or something just might fall into that category). I'd say two-three years for those unless there's an issue like disputing the amount of electricity you're using.

Happy shredding!

Posted by: uninvitedCat (uninvitedcat)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)

I'm not sure. I know that if you're in a debate with HMRC you're limited to 7 years of back-claims, but if they're after you they can go back 21 years. But that suggests you'd need to keep your paperwork for 21 years, which seems more than a tad excessive...

Maybe they changed the rules? Hmm....

Posted by: uninvitedCat (uninvitedcat)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)

Ah - last couple of answers on this forum page are interesting:

forum link

Looks like I got the time limits wrong - and the civil court timeline is very useful to know!

Posted by: jedibuttercup (jedibuttercup)
Posted at: January 24th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)

I've just been taking them all out of their envelopes, making sure there's nothing else to be done about them (I found a few insurance cards and the like that way!) and and then stapling and putting them in a pile. Not sure if I'll file or shred those yet, but the stack of unfolded bills is like, one tenth the size of the mound of envelopes, so I count it progress either way. =)

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