How long should you keep documents?

Records Retention – How Long Should I Keep My Paperwork? - Money Coaches  Canada

Please note the below applies to individuals living in Canada. Businesses have different requirements.

Spring is usually the season for both tax filing and decluttering/cleaning. Whether you like the feel of paper in your hands or have gone digital, you still need to go through your records and do some shredding or deleting.

Let’s break it all down!

Life

You need to keep these indefinitely:

  • Birth/death certificate
  • Naturalization certificate
  • Marriage/divorce records
  • Custody agreements/orders
  • Adoption records
  • Military records
  • Medical records
  • Pension documents
  • Will/power of Attorney
  • Estate records
  • Immigration records
  • Degrees, diplomas, certificates and official transcripts
  • SIN card

For as long as you have it

  • Insurance policies
  • Mortgage agreement
  • Loan agreement
  • Investments records
  • Property deeds and related documents: keep these for 3 years after selling the property
  • Vehicle records: purchase, repairs
  • Warranties
  • Receipts on major home repairs and appliances purchase
  • Contracts/agreements you’ve entered into

6 years

  • Tax returns and all supporting documentation: this is a CRA requirement. The supporting documentation includes your T4s, T4As, T5s, RRSP contributions, tuition receipts and anything that you claim when filing.

1 year

  • Paystubs: reconcile when receiving your T4 then shred
  • Bank and credit card statements
  • Investments statements
  • Mortgage/loan statements
  • Bills: utilities, cable, cell phone etc…
  • Tax notices, other than income tax: for example property taxes
  • Property value assessments

1 month

  • Receipts from credit/debit card purchases: toss after reconciling with your monthly statements
  • ATM receipts

Final word

The above list is by no mean exhaustive. However, it should be helpful in determining what you need to keep and for how long.

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