Ahhh...a common question in many of our households...Do we sometimes lose important receipts or throw away documents that we need later on? (Yep...) I recently made a purchase at a department store and chucked the receipt. Now, I have in-store credit, which is better than nothing, but, I would have rather had the cash back. A shoebox full of receipts seem to be the norm for most of us. Every time we make a purchase, we shove receipts in wallets, pockets or purses. We bring them home, sometimes sort them and drop them into a shoebox. (or a drawer that we can't open too easily anymore!) Here are some useful "tippets" that I found on the internet, to help us now how long we need to keep receipts...
Any receipt relating to your incomes taxes is especially important and should be kept at least three years, since the IRS can audit (that's a dirty word) you for up to three years. Save all income-tax receipts associated with deductions and credits claimed on your tax return!
Even after an account has been paid in full, it's a good idea to keep your bill receipts for at least a year. Bill receipts can include those for utilities, credit cards, rent and loans. Mortgage receipts should be kept forever. (Even if it is the house on the left!)
Minor Purcase Receipts
Some minor purchase receipts, like those for clothing and groceries, don't have to be kept for too long. For clothing purchases, receipts should be kept until after you wear the clothing, because you typically can't return clothing that has been worn. And after consuming the groceries, it's safe to throw out the receipt. (Don't think that you can return something with just a great...errr...big smile!)
Major Purchase Receipts
Major purchase receipts should be kept longer. Major purchases include items like televisions, large appliances, tires and furniture. Typically these come with warranties, so keep your receipt for the life of the warranty. A new report out says more than one in 10 electronic items purchased are returned to the store by consumers. A survey by the consulting firm, Accenture, finds many times products are returned because of buyer's remorse. Consumers often blame their returns on a defect, but in 68 percent of the cases, a defect is never found.
Most businesses have policies in place on how long they'll accept receipts for refunds and exchanges. Some businesses only allow 15 to 30 days to get a refund or make an exchange with or without a receipt. Make sure you know the time frame before it's too late to return! (Don't waste your time in line)
Sunday Tippet ~One more item not mentioned is restaurant receipts...sometimes it is wise to keep them and double check your bank or credit card statement against them. Just to make sure that a tip is not altered or misread! And one other thing, we never read our receipts unless we’re taking something back. In some cases, it pays off to double check what your beloved cashier may have rung up. (It might not be so easy to return or exchange!)
How long you need to keep receipts just depends on who might ask to see them. A good rule of thumb is that anything related to insurance or warranties can be thrown away once you get rid of the item in question —
Footnote: For the IRS, how long you need to keep receipts can vary. The longest you might need receipts is seven years. A long time...but, better safe than sorry!!