How Long Should I Keep a Check on Carbon Copies?

A carbon copy of a check.
Image Credit: Janaka Dharmasena/Hemera/Getty Images

The length of time you need to keep a canceled check, or its carbon copy, depends on the purpose of the payment. You can destroy most check carbons once the check has cleared and you've reconciled your bank statement. Keep check copies for any tax-related items for seven years after you file the tax return. Canceled checks related to the purchase, upkeep, or improvement of your home are kept for seven years after you sell the house.

Archiving Check Copies

If your bank statement includes images of your canceled checks, you can keep the statement in lieu of the carbon check copy. Many banks also offer online access to digital images of canceled checks, eliminating the need to keep paper or carbon copies. Keep backups of electronic files, and update your storage system as technology changes.

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