How Long Do I Keep 401K Statements and Transfer Notices?

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How long should I keep 401K statements and transfer notices? I have one 401K from an old employer that I don't contribute to and I get quarterly statements. I have another one that is with a current employer and I make contributions and get quarterly statements.

I have seen on the web that the quarterly statements can be shredded when you get yearly statements and keep the yearly statements until you start making withdrawals. I do not get a yearly statement and I don't see why I should I keep the quarterly statements until withdrawals.

Any advice?  

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Unless you live in your car and storage is so tight, how hard is it to keep a file for those statements? You might not think you will ever need them, but if you have to do an amended tax return or ever get an audit you'll be glad you can find the paperwork.

I never needed mine but that's a data point of one

Scan and destroy if you're not sure.

At the end of a calendar year, if everything looks right, I generally keep the year end statements (whether it is an annual statement or just the 4Q statement) and shred all the interim stuff.

I have statements as well as receipts from my first credit card from the early 80's.

How long do you keep anything IRS related? Personally, I would never leave an old 401k at an old employer fund. I recommend you consider moving by paperwork the old 401K to a rollover IRA yesterday. DO NOT ASK FOR A CHECK NOR ALLOW THEM TO SEND YOU A CHECK.

I used to keep a lot of information - but no more. I only scan the tax related things and that's it. Unless you are interested in tracking the performance of your 401K investments, I don't see much point in saving them. And tracking performance is hard due to "regular deposits" - so I just look at how my funds are doing and make adjustments based on that.

I suppose "rollover" statement is an important doc - to make sure the money didn't become taxable. I would keep those kind of "event" docs and shred the rest. And ideally, don't even get paper statements since the postman is sooner or later bound to deliver your statement in somebody else's mailbox.

JW10 said:   How long do you keep anything IRS related? Personally, I would never leave an old 401k at an old employer fund. I recommend you consider moving by paperwork the old 401K to a rollover IRA yesterday. DO NOT ASK FOR A CHECK NOR ALLOW THEM TO SEND YOU A CHECK.
Some custodians insist on sending you the check directly even when you ask for a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer. It will be made payable to the new IRA custodian, FBO <your name>.

This is o.k. since you never have control of the funds. Simply send the check to the new custodian to be deposited to the IRA/401k account you have already opened with them.

Must be done within 60 days of coming out of the 401k.

fwuser12 said:   
JW10 said:   How long do you keep anything IRS related? Personally, I would never leave an old 401k at an old employer fund. I recommend you consider moving by paperwork the old 401K to a rollover IRA yesterday. DO NOT ASK FOR A CHECK NOR ALLOW THEM TO SEND YOU A CHECK.
Some custodians insist on sending you the check directly even when you ask for a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer. It will be made payable to the new IRA custodian, FBO <your name>.

This is o.k. since you never have control of the funds. Simply send the check to the new custodian to be deposited to the IRA/401k account you have already opened with them.

  
Spot on
Did this last week Fidelity 401k to Fidelity SEP ...an FBO check had to be issued to Fidelity custodian

I think some accountants and lawyers recommend including a "protective" Form 5329 with your tax return for years in which there is activity that the IRS may later challenge, e.g., excess contributions, failure to take RMD,improper rollover.  The Form 5329 is the form on which you usually report penalties for such mistakes/violations.  It has its own "independent" statute of limitations, such that if it is never filed, the statute will remain open indefinitely.  By filing a "protective" Form 5329  -- with zeroes for the penalties -- you get the SOL clock started, thereby generally limiting your exposure to 3 yrs.



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