It’s tax time!
With April 15 a few weeks away, many of us have piles of files sprawled on our desks and dining-room tables in preparation for filing our returns.
Whether you owe Uncle Sam or you’re due to get money back, chances are you’ve looked at all that paperwork and thought, “How long do I need to keep all of these papers?”
Since few of us have unlimited storage space, it’s a good idea to bone up on how long you need to retain your business and personal records.
For instance, here are guidelines to follow for personal documents:
- Toss ATM receipts and bank deposit slips as soon as you’ve matched them with your monthly statements
- Toss credit card receipts after you’ve gotten your statement (unless you might want to return the item or need proof of purchase for a warranty)
- Toss credit card statements that do not have a tax-related expense on them
- Toss utility bills when the following month’s bill arrives indicating that your prior payment was received. (If you deduct a home office on your taxes, you should keep these bills for seven years.)
There are other documents you should keep for one year, three years, seven years and indefinitely. Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. However, the IRS says that the length of time you should keep a document depends on the action, expense or event which the document records. Small Businesses and self-employed workers should review this page for the Period of Limitations that apply to income tax returns. You’ll then be able to easily answer the question of whether a document can be discarded.
Tax season is a logical time to identify records you no longer need to retain. When you’re ready to discard your old papers, please entrust them to a professional shredding company that will properly and securely destroy them. Don’t toss documents with sensitive information in a recycle bin – there’s too much at stake if you do.
Since 1997, Paper Tiger Document Solutions has handled residential and commercial shredding throughout the Chicago area and northeastern Wisconsin. Whether we provide shredding services at a client’s location in one of our mobile trucks, or we pick up documents and shred them at our facility, we provide a Certificate of Document Destruction. Any reputable provider should do the same.Back to Blog