The Importance of Document Shredding

The Importance of Document Shredding

By Laurie Dunshee, Finance Director

FineAwards.com believes in protecting our business and the privacy of our clients.  Document shredding proves to be the safest and most secure way of avoiding important data from getting into the wrong hands.  Approximately 15 million people are victims to identity theft yearly with an estimated $100 billion lost to these information thieves. FineAwards.com hires a local shredding company, which comes on site, and shreds data while under our observation. Our customers can feel safe we are doing our very best to avoid becoming a part of these statistics.

So, what should you shred?  Below are just a few things, but if you are shredding, we would recommend shredding everything!

What to Shred? Reason
Tax information & returns There is a general three year statute of limitation for your taxes. This means the IRS has three years from when you file your return to start an audit. (There is no limit for fraudulent returns). Therefore, you need to keep documents that support items on your tax returns for those three years. Each year you can throw out the three year old documents, but you should keep copies of tax returns forever.
Investment records & statements Investment records must be kept to support your tax returns. Documentation of purchases and sales (either confirmations or brokerage statements including the information) must be kept for three years past when you report the sale on your tax return. You may find it helpful to keep brokerage statements for many years.
Bank statements & canceled checks Some people keep every canceled check and others toss most of them. Certainly you should keep canceled checks that support any tax deductions and any that you think may come in handy. Otherwise, canceled checks can take up a lot of space. Bank statements are a bit different. You may want to keep them for some period (three years or so) so you can document your payments for important items. Together with your checkbook register, you would be able to identify when and how much you paid for almost anything.
Paycheck stubs These documents can include very important information including Social Security number and financial institution account numbers if you use direct deposit. You may need to have the last three month’s stubs if you are planning to apply for a loan. Otherwise, you should only keep the latest stub.

 

So, what’s next?  Now that you have mountains of shredded information you are probably wondering how to dispose of it.  If you went to a local shredding facility, they will dispose of the paper for you.  If you shredded in your office or home here are several fun “up cycles” you could do with the shredded paper.

1) Use it in your garden!  To slow down slugs and cutworms, place shredded paper around any plants they bother.Shredded paper ideas

2) Make paper-mache bowls.

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3) Use it in winter creation crafts with the kids!

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