Did you know, every document has a shelf life? You may have realized some documents need to be disposed of when you no longer need them, but how long is that time frame?
When sorting through boxes or that pile of paper on your desk, don’t keep documents that may be harmful if they were ever stolen, especially if you no longer need them. Examples include tax documents and bank statements. But how do you know what can be pitched?
Here are a few guidelines that will help you decide whether to dispose or not dispose:
- Tax Records:
The IRS has three years to audit your return, so it’s always safe to keep your records for six years. Once you do decide to get rid of this sensitive information, make sure to shed all documents so you do not become an identity theft victim
- Pay Stubs, Bank Statements and Credit Card Statements:
Shed all pay stubs, bank statements, and credit card statements after use or up to one year - don’t just throw them away. They include confidential personal information and need to be disposed of properly.
- Home Purchase, Sale, or Improvement Documents:
Hold on to these documents until six years after you sell. Expenses toward your house and/or improvements are factored into the sale price of your home when or if you choose to sell it. Which will lower your capital gains tax.
Keep warranties if they are still active. If they are expired get rid of them, especially if they have your personal information included. Identity thieves love items like this and use it to capture your personal information.
- Medical Records:
Medical records include confidential information. You should always keep them at least one year, in the case that you have a dispute or need the information for upcoming appointments, but keeping them more than one year isn’t critical and documents can be received from your doctors office if you do need that information after you destroy these documents
Contact us if you are unsure and need advice on what to shred!