The Allegheny Shredding Blog

Apr 4, 2024

Tax Day and Shredding Go Hand-in-Hand

Quiz Time!

Top-view photo of a calculator, miscellaneous papers and a person completing tax documents Select the crucial element during tax season:

  1. Meeting the deadline
  2. Minimizing tax payments
  3. Safeguarding personal information
  4. All the above

The correct answer is D, encompassing all listed aspects including the often-overlooked necessity of protecting personal data. Ensuring the security of your private information ranks high among priorities, a feat easily achieved through secure shredding practices.

Shredding: A Vital Component

Surprisingly, shredding plays a pivotal role in tax preparation. Most documents require eventual destruction to safeguard your identity and sensitive information, but what documents should be shredded, and how long should they be retained?

  • Tax Returns, as per the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), should be kept for three to seven years, depending on circumstances. Opting for the full seven-year retention period is advisable to mitigate the risk of identity theft. Shredding returns after this timeframe is prudent, as they are unlikely to be needed again, and retaining them poses security risks. In the event of a lost tax return, obtaining a copy from the IRS is feasible.
  • IRS Period of Limitations dictates the timeframe during which filers or the IRS can amend a tax return. Typically, this period spans three years but may extend to six or seven years under certain circumstances, such as unreported income or claims for losses. Hence, preserving tax returns for up to seven years is justified.
  • Tax Documents, including W-2 and 1099 forms, should be retained for a minimum of three years. These documents can and should be securely shredded after their retention period expires.
  • Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) statements should be retained for six years for tax purposes.
  • Pay Stubs in paper format can be shredded annually once the corresponding W-2 form is confirmed accurate, serving as valuable references.

Keeping: Safeguarding Important Documents

To protect your information effectively, opt for a secure and compliant shredding service. Certain documents should not be shredded, including:

  • Deduction claims (e.g., support payments, charitable contributions)
  • Supporting evidence of income or credits, such as receipts, bank statements, and canceled checks
  • Records supporting property improvements
  • Automotive titles and home deeds
  • Pension plan information and estate-planning documents
  • Vital records like birth certificates, citizenship papers, marriage licenses, and military discharge papers

Protecting: Ensuring Security

Allegheny Records Destruction specializes in securely disposing of outdated tax documents, rendering the information unreadable and unrecoverable to safeguard your identity. We offer both on-site shredding and off-site shredding services in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania for your convenience. Call us at 412-381-1010 or complete the form on this page to ensure a safe and secure tax season.

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