Guidelines for Shredding Documents
January 20, 2016
Posted by JD Stride

Every year you add loads of different paper materials to your files which give you a collection of the things that needs to be discarded or disposed. One way of discarding or getting rid of these paper materials is to have it shredded. Well, if it’s paper, the easiest way to do it is to shred it. However, before shredding, you have to sort it out first by checking the documents first, identify its use or the kind of document that you’d like to shred. There are some documents that should not be shred, instead it should be kept and saved or else you’ll get into trouble with the government.

To give you an idea of the “what to shred” or “what should not be shred”, you have to know the different kinds of documents and the period that you have to keep or saved for future reference.

  • Pay stubs- This piece of document should be kept for at least one year as this can be used for tax or insurance purposes. Some experts recommend saving the pay stubs for more or less 7 years, so you might as well file it per year. After you’re already sure that you will no longer need it, you can bring it to a reliable shredding services company to have it destroyed or discarded.
  • Credit, debit and ATM receipts- you can have these papers shredded after you have checked and verified its amount. However, if you intend to use it for tax purposes, you can still keep it for quite some time.
  • Less important tax documentation- Actual copies of your tax returns should never be shredded, however, supporting documents like W-2s and 1099s should not be kept for more than three years.
  • Bank deposit slips and budgets- These pieces of paper or documents should be kept for more or less 3 years. You might need it as a proof of your financial transactions (especially if you own a small business) if ever an IRS audit would be needed or requested.
  • Vendor invoices, payroll tax returns, and purchase orders- Business owners should keep these documents for at least 7 years before bringing it to a shredding company for disposal.
  • Any piece of paper with your signature, credit card number, legal information, or Social Security number- You can keep them as long as you need them, after which, you can discard or shred them. It would be dangerous if you will just throw the documents without having it properly destroyed. Remember that you have affixed your signature on some of these documents and if by chance some unscrupulous person will get it, they might use it for any illegal activities which can place you and your family in big trouble. It would then be best to have it shredded and destroyed completely.

As you discard important documents, it is important to note that all the documents have been completely destroyed. This can ensure your safety as all the important information written in the documents will forever be kept in private.

With all of these in mind, the best way to discard important documents is to hire a secured record shredding company that can completely destroy your documents without worrying that important information found in the documents will land in the hands of some unscrupulous people.