How Long You Should Be Keeping Your Tech Receipts

How Long You Should Be Keeping Your Tech Receipts

Taryn Williford
Jul 28, 2011

With small apartments that can barely fit enough people to consider a "party," the last thing we need is paper cluttering our shelves. But you should keep receipts for your technology purchases, at least for a little while.

When we say, "receipt," we mean proof of purchase. You don't need to hang on to those thermal paper scraps for any longer than it takes to scan them or match them up with your bank and credit card statements. (In fact, if you stash the actual receipts you might find they've burned or faded by the time you need them.)

But you do need to hang on to those digital images and statements for at least a little while. Here are a few timelines to keep in mind, ordered from the shortest to the longest:

  • Until the return period has passed. If you're known to suffer from buyer's remorse, hang on to the receipt until the return & exchange period has passed, or until you're sure you want to keep your gear.
  • Until your warranty expires. This includes the length of a factory warranty and any extended warranty you might have purchased. You also should consider informal ways to extend your warranty, like through your credit card company.
  • Until the end of your tax review period. If you claim your devices as a work expense, you'll want to hold on to any receipt until the end of the IRS' basic tax review period, 3 years. Even though you've already filed and paid your 2009 taxes, the IRS can still audit you and ask for some documentation of your claims.
  • Until you get rid of the device. In the event of a fire or flood, you'll want some proof of purchase for the gear you've lost. Receipts are a great addition to your home inventory.

(Image: Think Geek's Hand Paper Shredder, $9.99)