How long should I keep a deceased person's tax records?

Written by shauna zamarripa
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How long should I keep a deceased person's tax records?
Estate executors are in charge of managing a deceased person's tax records. (tax form image by yang xiaofeng from

Three years is the general statute of limitations for the IRS to conduct an audit. Furthermore, once all the deceased's property has been distributed and the deceased's final taxes are filed, it becomes the responsibility of the beneficiaries to file on any inherited assets.

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Personal Liability

Personal income tax returns and tax records,according to the IRS, should be retained for up to 7 years. In the event that any information could be challenged in the years following the benefactor's demise, it is wise for an executor to have these on file in order to combat a dispute.

Bottom Line

The recommendation for all personal returns is a minimum of 3 years, according to the Internal Revenue Service website, but to play it safe, it is best to keep the deceased's records for 7 years.

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