April 16, 2019

Tax Time: Knowing What to Shred

If you have been reading these blog posts regularly, then you will be up to speed on the security risks that tax season brings. As a quick reminder, tax identity fraud is a huge concern and can cost your organization hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

With this concern in mind, you might ask yourself what documents you need to throw away during tax season. With the numerous amounts of confidential documents produced at this time of year, it is essential to know what documents to destroy in order to avoid being a victim of fraud.

Documents to Destroy After Filing Your Taxes:

As soon as tax returns are filed, it is important to destroy the following documents.

1. Any documents that are past the recommended retention period should be shredded.

2. Documents that have been converted into a digital file should also be destroyed. These documents can include USB sticks or old electronic device that have confidential data saved onto it. It is important to be aware that old cell phones and laptops pose a huge risk if they get into the wrong hands.

3. Paid out loan documents need to be shredded.  

4. Post-it notes, notepads or any items that have confidential data written down, such as passwords or phone numbers, need to be shredded.

5. Any file or document that has names, addresses or other private information need to be destroyed.

6. Documents that have no use or purpose any more should be shredded for safety measures. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of shredding documents as soon as they are no longer needed. These documents include sales receipts, old insurance papers, credit card offers, ATM receipts and expired warranties.

Just as it is important to be aware of what documents to destroy after filing your taxes, you also need to know what documents to keep locked and stored after filing your taxes:

1. Any document that provides evidence of deduction claims should be kept. These documents include support payments, charitable contributions, mortgage interest payments and retirement plans to name a few.

2. Copies of previous tax returns should be stored in locked consoles for their outlined retention period.

3. Pension plan information and any estate-planning documents should be saved.

4. Automobile titles and home deeds.

5. Records such as birth and death certificates, citizenship papers, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, social insurance numbers and military discharge papers are also important to keep.

6. You should also keep documents that support an item of income or credit on the tax return such as credit card statements, cancelled cheques and other proofs of payment.

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents, please contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment.