What Should I Shred and When Should I Shred It?

By September 15, 2016 Blog No Comments

convenient paper shredding optionsAre your desk drawers filled to the brim with unfiled documents and paperwork? You’re certainly not alone. With the amount of paper documents we’re given by our employers, our billing agencies, and the government, it’s hard to know what to keep and what to send to a confidential paper shredding service. Luckily, there are convenient paper shredding options that will allow your secure items to be bulk shredded. Here’s a simple guide to get you started on conquering your paper mountain and recycling waste paper:

Keep forever

  • Birth certificate
  • Adoption papers
  • Social Security cards
  • Passports (until they expire, then renew)
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Titles and deeds to personal property (homes, cars, boats, etc.)
  • Marriage and death certificates
  • Divorce finalization paperwork
  • Tax returns (if you want to be safe)

Shred immediately

  • Sales receipts (unless the product is under warranty or you think you may return it)
  • Paid credit card and utility bills
  • ATM receipts
  • Expired warranties
  • Non-tax related cancelled checks

Tax records
These are tricky, because it’s likely that you won’t need them, but it won’t be pretty if you do. In most cases, the IRS has three years to audit you based on fraudulent tax activity, but that statute can reach up to seven years in some cares. To be on the safe side, wait seven years before shredding cancelled checks, or tax-related receipts.

Pay stubs
Keep your pay stubs for one year so you can match them up when you receive your W-2. After you file that, set them aside for secure document destruction. However, hold onto them if you think you might need them for future tax, warranty, or insurance purposes.

Improvement expense receipts
Keep these until you sell the product you improved. In many cases, this has to do with home improvement. If you made significant renovations to your home, you likely increased its value. Hold onto these documents when your home is being appraised before it hits the market. Improvement-related expenses may also qualify you for a lower tax on your capital gains.

If you have any questions regarding these documents, it’s wise to meet with an accountant.

After going through this guide, it’s likely that you’ll have plenty of items to send to the shredder. Luckily, Green Officeprovides convenient paper shredding options. For secure document shredding in Ocean and Monmouth, contact our Jersey Shore office.

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