Individual Income Tax
Keeping Records

  1. What records should I keep?
  2. How long should I keep tax records?

  1. What records should I keep?

    You should keep copies of your tax returns and credit claims. This is a list of some of the tax records you should keep:

    • Income: Keep Forms W-2 (wage statements), Forms 1099, financial statements, bank statements, contracts and other documents that verify income on your tax returns.
    • Deductions and Credits: Keep canceled checks, bank statements, paid invoices, sales receipts, Forms 1098 (mortgage interest), loan documents, financial and legal documents, mileage logs, appointment books, credit card statements, and other documents to verify expenses and credits claimed on your returns.
  2. How long should I keep tax records ?

    Generally you should keep your records until the period of limitations for the tax return runs out. The period of limitations is the period of time in which you can amend your return to claim a refund, or the Department of Revenue can assess additional tax.

    • Usually this is four years from the due date of the return or the date filed, whichever is later.
    • If you do not report income that you should have reported, and the underreported income is 25% or more of the income you reported, the period of limitations is 6 years from the due date of the return or the date filed, whichever is later.
    • If a return is false or fraudulent, there is no period of limitations. The department can assess additional tax at any time.
    • If no return is filed, there is no period of limitations. The department can assess tax at any time.
    • Keep records relating to property you own as long as they are needed to figure the basis of the original or replacement property and 4 years after a return is filed to report the sale or disposition of the property.
    • Net operating losses may be carried forward up to 15 years. Keep records for the year of the loss and all years in which you carry them forward, up to 4 years after the final return filed with the losses.

    Keep copies of your tax returns indefinitely.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Customer Service Bureau
P.O. Box 8949
Madison, WI 53708-8949
Phone: (608) 266-2486
Fax: (608) 267-1030
Email Additional Questions

Last updated November 13, 2013