Before you hire a shredding service, be sure that you understand which documents you should retain for a period and which you can shred right away. Receipts, invoices and tax- and insurance-related items are among those that could be needed for a time before they are destroyed.

For example, Federal or state government regulations may define holding periods for documents that support tax returns. It pays to do your homework. Following is a discussion of the some of the document types people have in their homes or businesses along with recommendations on how and why they should be saved or shredded.

Pay stubs: Pay stubs should be saved for perhaps a year or more if there is a chance they may be needed to answer tax or insurance questions. Many experts recommend retaining tax-related documents for seven years or more. When arranging to dispose of these types of documents, it is wise to hire a professional shredding service to do a safe and thorough job.

Credit card, debit card and ATM receipts: Unless they are needed for tax purposes, receipts from credit and debit cards and ATMs can probably be shredded immediately after being checked for accuracy and incorporated into your reconciled statements and ledgers.

Non-critical tax-related documents: Although you should probably keep your actual tax returns, it is usually not necessary to keep items such as Forms W-2 and 1099 for more than three years. Once you have decided to get rid of them, use a company that offers guaranteed secure Atlanta GA secure shredding services.

Bank deposit slips and budget documents: It is advisable to keep these for at least three years, especially if you own a small business, to be used as proof of business activities should something be questioned or you or your business audited.

Vendor invoices, payroll tax returns, and purchase orders: Perhaps of more relevance to business owners, these documents should be retained for a minimum of seven years. A proven secure shredding service, such as Atlanta GA secure shredding services, should be used for these sensitive documents.

Items with signatures, credit card numbers, legal information or Social Security Numbers: The holding period for these depends on the particular circumstances of a person or business. In any case, before disposing of them you should have them properly and thoroughly shredded. Non-secure disposal can be dangerous and can result in identity theft.

The news is full of stories in which sensitive documents have made it into the wrong hands. Don’t let this happen to you!

What is the best way to go about disposing of sensitive documents that you don’t need anymore? The wisest choice, particularly if you own a business and have boxes of financial and employee records to dispose of, is to use a secure record shredding company. Customer reviews and ratings are often available and can be extremely useful in helping you choose. Be sure to find a company that you can trust that has a lot of experience and plenty of satisfied customers.

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