You must keep records as proof of any deduction claimed on your tax
return. Generally, you should keep your records for 3 years from the
date of filing the tax return and claiming the deduction.
If you are an employee who is reimbursed for expenses and you give
your records and documentation to your employer, you do not have to
keep duplicate copies of this information. However, you should keep
your records for a 3-year period if:
- You claim deductions for expenses that are more than your
- Your employer does not use adequate accounting procedures to
verify expense accounts,
- You are related to your employer, or
- Your expenses are reimbursed under a nonaccountable plan.
Examples of records to keep.
If any of the above cases apply to you, you must be able to prove
that your expenses are deductible. You should keep adequate records or
have sufficient evidence that will support your expenses. Estimates or
approximations do not qualify as proof of an expense. Some examples of
what can be used to help prove your expenses are:
- Documents such as transcripts, course descriptions,
catalogs, etc., showing periods of enrollment in educational
institutions, principal subjects studied, and descriptions of
- Canceled checks and receipts to verify amounts you spent for
tuition and books, meals and lodging while away from home overnight
for educational purposes, travel and transportation, and other
- Statements from your employer explaining whether the
education was necessary for you to keep your job, salary, or status;
how the education helped maintain or improve skills needed in your
job; how much educational expense reimbursement you received,
identified by kind of expense; and the type of certificate and
subjects taught, if you are a teacher.
- Complete information about any scholarship or fellowship
grants, including amounts you received during the year.
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