A Simple Guide to How Long to Keep Documents Before Shredding Them

A Simple Guide to How Long to Keep Documents Before Shredding Them

How long before you need to shred documents
Knowing how long to keep documents before shredding them can be confusing. You don't want to be a pack-rat, but might be nervous about shredding too soon. This guide will help you confidently make the right decisions.

Identity theft isn't just a serious problem for adults, but now, for kids. So if your high schooler has a part-time job, or you're helping with college loan information - listen up!

You need to know how long to keep documents before shredding them. We've got the lowdown on what papers to keep, for how long, and when to shred.

It's time to clean out the filing cabinet so read on!

Bank Receipts

Your ATM, bank deposits, and credit card receipts are important, but not important enough to keep forever. Keep them for less than a year in a file folder.

On a rainy day, shred the paper documents or securely trash electronic files until tax season.

Financial Records

Tax returns are extremely important so honestly, you can't get rid of these. You'll want to keep a permanent electronic or hard copy at all times.

Make a file for everyone's tax returns just in case if the government ever has questions, you'll have everything ready for them.

Supporting Tax Documentation

Depending on your filing circumstances, the IRS could ask you for information 3 to 7 years after you've filed.

So how long to keep those documents? W-2's and 1099, bank and brokerage statements, and any tuition payments need to sit safely in a file for up to 7 years.

Hope you have a big filing cabinet.

Utility Bills

Most people pay their bills online so they don't even get hard copies in the mail anymore. However, self-employed people keep a hard copy for tax purposes which is different.

You can shred the hard copy as soon as you've verified the payment was processed. You can also shred all bank withdrawal and deposit slips after you've verified them on your monthly statement.

Invest in a good, high-quality shredder that will handle extremely sensitive information. The last thing you need is someone getting a hold of your address or payment information!

Keep Forever

It's essential to keep any birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, Social Security cards, etc. Also, hold on to any military documentation, life-insurance policies, and an inventory of your bank safe deposit box.

Divide your file folders up so you know what needs to stay in the file cabinet forever, and what can be eventually shredded.

Recap Of How Long To Keep Documents

  • Tax returns - permanently
  • Supporting tax documentation - up to 7 years
  • Pay stubs - 1 year
  • Utility bills/deposit slips - 1 month
  • Social Security cards/marriage documents - forever

Make difficult passwords and change them as often as you can for electronic documents. Keep your username and password combination different. Don't use the same usernames/passwords as your social media accounts.

How We Can Help

At Intimus Pro, we want to make sure all your important information doesn't get into the wrong hands. When you've determined how long to keep documents, it's time to think about what kind of shredder can handle the job.

Contact us today and we can help with anything from an industrialized shedder for a company to a personal one for home!