Let’s face it: Tax season makes for one hectic time of year. Businesses across the country have to compile documents, shuffle them around, meet tight deadlines – all before paying their actual taxes! When it’s all said and done, it’s easy to want to leave all those tax documents in a big pile on your desk, or just toss them all out. But a bit of organization and a little help from a professional shredding service like Secure Record Solutions can help you sort through what to keep and what to shred, ensuring your records are accurate and your data is safe.
For most tax-related documents, the magic number is three years
The IRS recommends that all records of income, credits and deductions should be kept for at least that long. This rule applies to W-2 and 1099 forms. This is because there is a three-year statute of limitations on IRS audits. Anything that proves income or other details about claims you’ve filed in that time window should be kept in a secure location.
Additionally, proof of itemized deductions on your return should be kept for at least the same time period, along with proof of any homes or properties you’ve sold and brokerages statements for stocks or bonds you’ve purchased.
The three years following the date you filed are important, because they represent the only window of time in which you can seek a refund you may be owed, or in which the IRS can contact you to substantiate any claims you’ve made for previous filings. In the case of something like an audit, you’ll want quick and easy access to those files.
The three-year period doesn’t apply in a few distinct situations
If you’re claiming less than you’re actually making, the statute applies for six years, and it never expires in the case of fraudulent returns. Also, retirement-fund related documents like Roth and traditional IRA contributions or 401(k) statements should be kept a minimum of seven years, just to be on the safe side.
What about after the three years are up?
You’re probably safe to dispose of records at that point, though you may want to keep some to be on the safe side. For everything you don’t want or need to keep, make sure you securely dispose of it. Disposing of things like tax records safely is of paramount importance. Your tax documents contain enough sensitive information to merit serious care when they’re disposed of. Partnering with a competent professional shredding service like what’s offered by Secure Record Solutions ensures that your data will be quickly and safely destroyed.
Secure Records Solutions’ offers multiple options to best fit your document destruction needs, from in-house, large scale shredding to commercial shred trucks that will travel to your location to meet your shredding needs. Secure Records Solutions even offers state-of-the-art shred bins that you can keep on-site for shredding any and all sensitive documents, whether during “tax season” or throughout the year.
Of course, for those documents you need to keep, Secure Records Solutions offers a variety of data storage solutions that may be a good fit for your business. For CPAs and other clients that deal with a large variety of documents during and after tax season, Secure Record Solutions offers tailored after-tax document management and purge projects to meet the larger scale needs unique to those clients.
Whether you’re concerned about convenient and affordable data storage options or a safe and simple way to destroy your old records, you can contact Secure Record Solutions for a plan that fits your needs.