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Shredding

Looking to cut up? Allow us to cut in

If you’ve got up to five boxes of sensitive documents you need to get rid of, we have just the shredder for the job.  

Expired credit and debit cards, unused checks and unwanted credit card offers all contain information that could be especially harmful in the wrong hands. Our monthly shred days from April to November give you the opportunity to dispose of these documents securely. 

Figuring out what to cut up and what to keep can be confusing. This handy guide lays it all out for you.

Type of Record Length of Time to Keep, and Why

Taxes

Returns

Cancelled checks/receipts (alimony, charitable contributions, mortgage interest and retirement plan contributions)

Records for tax deductions taken

Seven years

  • The IRS has three years from your filing date to audit your return if it suspects good-faith errors.
  • The three-year deadline also applies if you discover a mistake in your return and decide to file an amended return to claim a refund.
  • The IRS has six years to challenge your return if it thinks you underreported your gross income by 25 percent or more.
  • There is no time limit if you failed to file your return or filed a fraudulent return.

IRA contribution records

Permanently
If you made a nondeductible contribution to an IRA, keep the records indefinitely to prove that you already paid tax on this money when the time comes to withdraw.

Retirement/savings plan statements

From one year to permanently

  • Keep the quarterly statements from your 401(k) or other plans until you receive the annual summary; if everything matches up, then shred the quarterlies.
  • Keep the annual summaries until you retire or close the account.

Bank records

From one year to permanently

  • Go through your checks each year and keep those related to your taxes, business expenses, home improvements and mortgage payments.
  • Shred those that have no long-term importance.

Brokerage statements

Until you sell the securities
You need the purchase or sales slips from your brokerage or mutual fund to prove whether you have capital gains or losses at tax time.

Bills

From one year to permanently

  • Go through your bills once a year.
  • In most cases, when the cancelled check from a paid bill has been returned, you can shred the bill.
  • However, bills for big purchases—such as jewelry, rugs, appliances, antiques, cars, collectibles, furniture, computers, etc.—should be kept in an insurance file for proof of their value in the event of loss or damage.

Credit card receipts and statements

From 45 days to seven years

  • Keep your original receipts until you get your monthly statement; shred the receipts if the two match up.
  • Keep the statements for seven years if tax-related expenses are documented.

Paycheck stubs

One year

  • When you receive your annual W-2 form from your employer, make sure the information on your stubs matches.
  • If it does, shred the stubs.
  • If it doesn't, demand a corrected form, known as a W-2c.

House/condominium records

From six years to permanently

  • Keep all records documenting the purchase price and the cost of all permanent improvements—such as remodeling, additions and installations.
  • Keep records of expenses incurred in selling and buying the property, such as legal fees and your real estate agent's commission, for six years after you sell your home.
  • Holding on to these records is important because any improvements you make on your house, as well as expenses in selling it, are added to the original purchase price or cost basis. This adds up to a greater profit (also known as capital gains) when you sell your house. Therefore, you lower your capital gains tax.