Tax Documents—Which Ones to Keep and Which Ones to Shred?

Posted on: March 12, 2019

Around tax time it can be quite easy to quickly become bogged down in papers, especially once all of the work has been done on your end. Receipts, wage and salary information, previous returns—it’s enough to clutter even the most meticulously kept home office or file room. What is there left to do in the end besides shred? It’s your best option for removing mess and unnecessary items, and it plays an important role in information security.

But is it safe to just shred it all? Or do certain items need to be kept around for a while? TrueShred is here to help you understand what can go safely, and what should be held for the foreseeable future.

What You Can Safely Shred After Tax Season

Essentially, any items that will not be needed for any potential reference, or in the case of a tax audit, are safe to get rid of. Additionally, some things can be shredded if they are easy to retrieve, should you need them again. Our local shredding company recommends shredding:

  • Any form of receipt, including credit offers and expired warranties. The only exception here are any receipts that may be used as a support of credit shown on your tax return.
  • All information that is readily available online (bank statements, credit card statements, utilities).
  • Papers or slips that hold personal information, such as your address or phone number—especially in the case of medical papers. These all represent risks to your security, and there’s simply no sense in keeping them around to tempt a would-be fraudster.

Tax Documents That Should be Retained

For the most part, items you should keep may be somewhat obvious. Previous returns to help you in filing next year, estate-planning documents, deduction claims, essential records like birth certificates. You want to keep all of these types of information for an extended period of time—maybe forever if you can keep them all well-organized.

Do I Need to Keep My Tax Records?

Absolutely, yes. The IRS is capable of auditing your tax returns—a scary way of saying that they will double-check your information—for up to three years after the date that it was filed. You should keep tax records for a bare minimum of three years for personal or family tax information, and as a business, the minimum should be four years.

To be safe, we recommend hanging onto your tax records for seven years total, especially if you own or operate a business. This is mainly because it smooths the process should the IRS contact you or audit you. The more accurate information you can show them from the past, the more likely it will appear that something that may have made them wary was an honest mistake.

Contact TrueShred for Safe, Secure Document Shredding After Tax Season

When you’re ready to shred obsolete receipts, medical information, or personal documents, you want the job handled by professionals that can guarantee security. TrueShred has been offering on-site, single-chain-of-custody shredding services to home and business owners in MD, VA, and DC for years.

Contact us online now to schedule a one-time shredding appointment. Or, if you’re looking to keep your office clean and organized this year, connect with us about ongoing shredding services by giving us a call at (888) 322-3218!

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Dennis R. Akers, Audit Supervisor - Virginia Department of Taxation

”TrueShred was prompt, efficient, clean and extremely professional. I plan to continue to use your service and will highly recommend TrueShred to other businesses.”

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