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About IRS Publication 552

Updated: February 23, 2023

IRS Publication 552 is a resource for taxpayers who need to know about the tax consequences of the disposed of property. The publication provides information on how to calculate the gain or loss on the disposition of property, how to figure the basis of the property, and what expenses are allowable.

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    • The purpose of keeping records, the kind of records you should keep, and how long you should keep them for tax purposes. These are all covered in IRS Publication 552, “Recordkeeping for Individuals.”
    • The records you should maintain when running a business are not included in this article because it is geared at individual taxpayers.
    • In addition to taxes, keeping good records is crucial for many elements of personal finance. Including borrowing money, buying a house, and getting life insurance, to name a few.

    What Is IRS Publication 552?

    IRS Publication 552, otherwise known as the “Hassle Free Refund Checklist”, is a guide that provides detailed instructions on how to file your taxes in order to receive your refund as quickly and easily as possible. 

    This publication is essential for anyone who wants to make sure they are getting the most out of their tax return. The Hassle Free Refund Checklist begins by asking you to check a few simple things off before you even begin filling out your return. For example, are you using the most recent tax forms? Have you included all of the necessary documentation? 

    Once you’ve got these basics out of the way, you can move on to ensuring that all of your information is accurate. One of the most important things to double check is your social security number. This is how the IRS identifies you and if this number is incorrect, your refund could be delayed or even sent to someone else entirely. Another key piece of information is your filing status. This determines how much tax you owe and which form you should use. 

    Be sure to select the correct status, whether it be single, married filing jointly, or head of household. If you’re expecting a refund, the next step is to decide how you would like to receive it. The IRS offers direct deposit into your bank account or a physical check that will be mailed to your address. 

    Direct deposit is by far the quickest and most convenient option, so be sure to include your bank account information on your return. Once you’ve completed these steps, simply mail or e-file your return and wait for your refund to arrive. Thanks to the Hassle Free Refund Checklist, getting your money back from the IRS has never been easier.

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    List of Documents to Maintain

    IRS Publication 552, “List of Documents to Maintain”, is a great resource to refer to for taxpayers. The publication lists the types of records that taxpayers should keep in order to comply with IRS rules and regulations. It also provides guidance on how long to keep records and how to store them. 

    The publication starts by explaining the different types of records that taxpayers should keep. These include records of income, expenses, investments, and assets. The publication then goes on to explain how long to keep these records. For example, records of income should be kept for at least three years, while records of expenses should be kept for at least seven years. 

    The publication also provides guidance on how to store records. For example, records should be stored in a safe place where they will not be damaged or destroyed. They should also be stored in a way that makes them easy to access and retrieve. 

    Purpose to Maintain the Records

    The purpose of Publication 552 is to provide taxpayers with guidance on maintaining records that will substantiate their claims for deductions, credits, and other tax benefits. The publication also explains how the IRS will use these records if the taxpayer is audited. 

    Taxpayers should keep records that will show all income received during the year, as well as any expenses incurred in earning that income. This includes records of any business expenses, charitable contributions, medical expenses, and interest paid. Taxpayers should also keep records of any property they own, such as real estate or investments. Keeping good records will help taxpayers avoid problems if they are audited by the IRS. 

    It is much easier to prove your case when you have documentation to support your claims. If you do not have records to back up your claims, the IRS may disallow them entirely. So, it is in your best interest to keep good records throughout the year. Doing so will save you time and hassle if you are ever audited by the IRS.

    Why Maintain the Records?

    There are a number of reasons to maintain records according to IRS Publication 552. 

    First, it allows you to track your expenses so that you can deduct them on your taxes. Second, it helps you keep track of your business income and expenses. Finally, it provides a paper trail in case you are ever audited by the IRS. 

    Keeping good records is essential to taking full advantage of the deductions and credits you’re entitled to. It also helps you monitor your business activity and growth. Good records can also save you time and money if you are ever audited by the IRS. If you don’t keep records, you may miss out on deductions and credits that you’re entitled to. 

    You may also have difficulty determining how your business is performing or tracking your business growth. Additionally, if you are audited, the IRS may disallow all of your deductions and require you to pay additional taxes, interest, and penalties. 

    Maintaining records according to IRS Publication 552 is vital to ensuring that you get the most out of your deductions, credits, and tax breaks. It also protects you in the event of an audit. So be sure to keep good records throughout the year!

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    How Long to Maintain the Records

    The IRS suggests that you keep records for at least three years from the date you filed your original return or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return, keep records for at least three years from the date you filed your original return. Or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. 

    You should keep all employment tax records for at least four years after the date that the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.

    Where to Store the Records

    As a responsible taxpayer, you’re probably aware that the IRS requires you to keep certain records and documents for your personal finances. But what you may not know is where to store these records so they’re readily available when you need them.

    The following are some tips on where to keep your important documents safe and organized: 

    • Create A Filing System: One way to keep your documents organized is to create a filing system. This can be as simple as creating folders for each type of document (e.g. medical records, tax records, bank statements) and putting them in a filing cabinet or box. If you have a lot of documents, you may want to consider using a scanning tool so you can save digital copies of your records. 
    • Get A Safe Deposit Box: Another option for storing important documents is to get a safe deposit box at your local bank. This is a good option if you have valuables or sensitive information that you want to keep secure. Be sure to keep a list of what’s in your box so you can easily access it when you need it. 
    • Keep An Electronic Copy: In addition to keeping physical copies of your records, it’s also a good idea to keep an electronic copy. This can be done by scanning your documents and saving them on your computer or in the cloud (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive). Be sure to password protect any electronic files that contain sensitive information.

    Following these tips will help ensure that your important documents are safe and easy to access when you need them.


    Overall, IRS Publication 552 is a great resource for taxpayers. It provides clear and concise guidance on what records to keep and how to store them. taxpayers who follow the guidance in this publication will be in compliance with IRS rules and regulations.

    It is important to maintain records according to the IRS Publication 552 because it helps to ensure accuracy when filing taxes. The publication provides a list of documents that should be kept in order to maintain accurate records. Additionally, maintaining these records can help lessen the amount of time and hassle associated with tax season.

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    FAQS on IRS Publication 552

    How Do I Respond to an IRS Deficiency Notice?

    If the updated modifications are acceptable to you, sign the accompanying Form 5564 and send it to the IRS. If you disagree, you have the option to request and file a petition with the U.S. Tax Court. This must be done no later than the due date indicated on the notice to contest the proposed modifications.

    Why Did I Receive a Notice of Deficiency From the IRS?

    A statutory notice of deficiency alerting you of the proposed change will normally be mailed to you if the IRS proposes to change the amount of tax you owe. This is to be reviewed by you.

    How Long Does the IRS Have to Issue a Notice of Deficiency?

    If you want to contest the tax the IRS proposed, you have 90 days. Or 150 days if the notification is sent to someone who is outside the country. This is starting from the date of the notice to file a petition with the Tax Court.


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