According to the IRS, the period of limitations is the “period of time in which you can amend your tax return to claim a credit or refund, or the IRS can assess additional tax.”
The IRS advises keeping them forever. I would 100% agree with that. Especially in the digital age, where everything can be saved on a hard drive or backed up in the cloud, there's no reason to toss your actual tax returns.
1. Keep records for 3 years if situations (4), (5), and (6) below do not apply to you.
1. Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later if you file a claim for credit or refund after filing your return. 2. Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.
According to the IRS, you should keep records relating to property “until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the property.”