You must keep your records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. Keep records that support an item of income or a deduction appearing on a return until the period of limitations for the return runs out. A period of limitations is the period of time after which no legal action can be brought. Generally, that means you must keep your records for at least 3 years from when your tax return was due or filed or within 2 years of the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. However, certain records must be kept for a longer period of time, as discussed below.taxmap/pubs/p225-003.htm#en_us_publink1000217649
If you have employees, you must keep all employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later. taxmap/pubs/p225-003.htm#en_us_publink1000217650
Keep records relating to property until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the property in a taxable disposition. You must keep these records to figure any depreciation, amortization, or depletion deduction and to figure your basis for computing gain or (loss) when you sell or otherwise dispose of the property.
You may need to keep records relating to the basis of property longer than the period of limitation. Keep those records as long as they are important in figuring the basis of the original or replacement property. Generally, this means as long as you own the property and, after you dispose of it, for the period of limitations that applies to you. For example, if you received property in a nontaxable exchange, you must keep the records for the old property, as well as for the new property, until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the new property in a taxable disposition. For more information on basis, see chapter 6
When your records are no longer needed for tax purposes, do not discard them until you check to see if you have to keep them longer for other purposes. For example, your insurance company or creditors may require you to keep them longer than the IRS does.