April 04, 2017
The end of tax season is a great time for companies and individuals to review all of their tax-related paperwork as well as other documents and to securely file or dispose of printed information that is no longer needed according to records retention guidelines.
While the 2016 State of the Industry Report by Shred-it showed a growing awareness among C-Suites and small business owners (SBOs) about the legal requirements of storing and disposing of confidential data, one-third of SBOs still think lost or stolen information wouldn’t have a serious impact compared to just 4% of C-Suites.
But lost or stolen information can increase the risk of a data breach, and there can be significant fines for non-compliance. Organizing and disposing of old paperwork will also improve the overall efficiency of a workplace.
Not sure what documents to keep?
Most businesses are required by law to keep confidential client, employee, and company data. The types of documents that are typically regulated include tax records as well as business contracts and other formal company documents, accounting records, personnel files, purchasing and sales documents, traffic files, and insurance documents.
Retention periods begin after the termination of the item and vary by country and according to the document and various federal, state, and local laws. For example, in the U.K., payroll records must be stored for 6 years while job application records must be kept for at least 6 months. In the U.S., employment applications must be kept for at least 3 years, and in some cases tax documents must be retained permanently.
Regulatory authorities such as the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) in the U.K. and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the U.S. provide current requirements.
For the secure destruction of data, partner with a document destruction company that has a chain of custody and provides secure shredding services. The company should have the knowledge and expertise to tailor document destruction services across all industry sectors. It should also provide a Certificate of Destruction after every shred.
Check Shred-it’s records retention guidelines for more information on which documents to shred and which to keep.