Tax filing season comes to an end in April of every year. Whether you look forward to it or dread it, one thing remains the same – there is an excess of paper documents to file afterward.
Even with electronic filing, you probably have years and years of forms, receipts and documents that you’re unsure what to do with. One of the most common questions surround tax documents is “How long do we have to keep them?”
The answer: it depends.
If you’re still hanging on to files from 1990’s, you’re certainly safe to shred. In fact, 3 years is the recommended length to keep tax documents in most cases. But there are other situations when you should keep them longer (such as if you filed a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction). You can review the list of IRS guidelines here, or contact a trusted CPA for specific questions about what and how long to keep files.
It can be scary to shred documents (what if I need these later)? However, it can be even scarier NOT to shred them. Paper files create a security risk. Personal information can get into the wrong hands. Papers could be lost or stolen. Your financial information may have changed in the last ten years, but your social security number hasn’t. You still need to protect your personal information.
The safest thing is to destroy documents you no longer need. And when it’s time to do that, make sure you partner with a professional. You can bring them into an on-site shredder, such as Tristar’s Walk-In Shredding, or arrange for a one-time service if you don’t already have a regularly scheduled service in place.
For more information about document shredding contact Tristar today.