01 Oct Does Your Company Know What to Shred and What to Keep?
Shredding your outdated documents is a critical practice to maintaining a secure work environment. But before moving ahead and employing a document destruction provider, have you really asked yourself what you should be shredding? And, maybe even more importantly, what shouldn’tyou be shredding?
New York, Long Island and Manhattan, are all covered under federal legislations containing provisions regarding the retention of documents. One such body that implements and enforces such rules is the IRS. In fact, when it comes to tax returns and documents the IRS has a very strict outline of what you should be keeping, and under what circumstances. Below is a list of guidelines direct from the official website of the IRS:
- Keep records for 3 years if situations (4), (5), and (6) below do not apply to you.
- Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return.
- Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.
- Keep records for 6 years if you do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return.
- Keep records forever if you do not file a return.
- Keep records forever if you file a fraudulent return.
- Keep employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date that the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.
Following these guidelines is a rough start but it’s often recommended to implement an official document disposal and retention protocol. Should this document be kept or destroyed? If it should be kept, for how long? Does it contain information that could be potentially compromising in the event that it was exposed? These are all very critical questions to ask when making a destruction / retention protocol. A good and effective protocol will answer all of these questions comprehensively.
- Should this document be kept or destroyed? This depends on whether the document contains information which is still relevant, or required to be kept on hand by law. See the above IRS guidelines as an example for tax returns and filings.
- If this document should be kept, how long should it be kept for? This again depends on internal processes that your business uses, or on federal legislation for certain pieces of documents. Otherwise your business should assess its needs and uses for different documents and make this decision at your discretion.
- Does it contain information that could be harmful to the organization or an employee if compromised?This question is really what should determine how the document should be disposed of. If the suspected answer is yes, than document destruction should be the course of action all the time.
So now you have the outline for a document destruction plan which answers these questions. What next? Perhaps the most important step in the entire process is making sure the process is communicated to all employees. It is entirely useless unless employees actually know about, and follow through with the policy. Additionally you should make sure you have a reliable shredding partner lined up to keep your business secured and in line with the law.
American Security Shredding is ready to provide reliable and secure services throughout New York, Long Island and Manhattan. Our team is geared with the knowledge to keep your business in compliance with important legislations such as HIPAA, HITECH, FACTAS, GLB, Red Flag Rulesand more. If your business is in need of a reliable shredding provider, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Call 1-800-882-1979