WJTV News Channel 12 - Time for spring cleaning of your financial records

Time for spring cleaning of your financial records

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - It's the time of year for some Spring cleaning. But don't just clean your house. Experts also recommend you clean up your financial records.

Marielis Rivera of Tampa launched her own law practice this year. Now that she's filing her taxes, she's been searching piles of paperwork for the right documents.

"I was keeping double of some things," she said. "This year, I'm going to try to do it as I go and keep it in a better system than I did last year."

Rivera hired an accountant to help her clean out her financial files.

"I went from my piles to less piles."

And she's not the only one trying to get organized. Consumer attorney Eric Seidel says it's a good idea to spring clean your financial life, as you file your taxes.

"There's some stuff that's very important to keep, but at the same time, you don't want your house to be filled with so much paperwork and so much clutter that you can't find the stuff that you really need to keep."

But before you get the itch to pitch too many documents, Seidel recommends you keep certain forms longer than others.

Things to keep for a month:

*Credit card statements

*Car payments and recurring bills.

But make sure the bills are accurate before tossing.

Things to keep for a year:

*Bank statements

*Any other financial records you won't use on your taxes.

There are certain things you need to keep longer, though.

"Anything that is proof of something you deducted on your taxes," Seidel said. "You want to make sure you keep all of that for seven years. So just in case the IRS does suspect some type of fraud and they decide to go back, well then you'll be able to prove it in an audit."

The IRS has three years to audit a return, but if you get audited they can go back up to seven years ... so make sure you have all tax-related documents. And shred everything you decide to toss so no one steals your personal information.

Rivera says the tips she's learned will make next year's tax season a lot easier.

"It's better to just keep my bank statements and highlight expenses versus keeping 50 pieces of paper," she said.

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