Spring-cleaning for your financial house

Five simple strategies will get your financial papers organized. Now's your chance to end the chaos forever.

Tax Paralysis
Tax Paralysis
Problem: When is it safe to throw out a tax record, pay stub or bill?
Time Involved: Three hours to sort and toss

The Fix:
"If you keep what you need, you'll sleep well knowing if the IRS selects you for an audit, you can prove anything," says attorney Barbara Weltman, author of "J.K. Lasser's 1,001 Deductions and Tax Breaks." The IRS has up to three years from when you file to look for errors on your return and up to six years to audit you if it suspects you underreported income by 25 percent. (There's no limit if fraud is involved.) Hold on to what you must. (Check the table on page 6.) And the rest? Buy a shredder and turn those papers into confetti to celebrate all the newfound space in your closet. Just be sure to clean up.


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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.