You hear advice all the time that you should shred sensitive documents to reduce your risk of identity theft. However, what exactly are “sensitive documents,” and are there some you should keep for a while before destroying them?
You are able to shred any of the following:
- Account Numbers, Passwords, PINs, Signatures, Social Security number, Date of Birth
- Tax Returns
- Retain for at least seven years. Never throw out a 1040, but receipts, W-2 Forms, and 1099 forms can be shredded after seven years. It is also recommended you keep one paper file of your tax return and one digital version.
- Mortgage Documents
- Keep these, as well as documents of any improvements, for six years after you sell the property in question.
- Pay Stubs
- Retain for one year, or at least until you’ve made sure they agree with your W-2.
- Medical Records
- One year is the standard, in case of billing errors or disputes. I’d probably go ahead and make it a little longer.
- Credit Union/Bank Statements
- Retain them for one year. Why not go paperless? Talk to your bank about online banking and paperless statements. No shredding needed!
- Brokerage Statements
- Maintain year-end statements for 5 years. No need to keep monthly statements at the end of the year.
- Utility bills
- After you’ve paid your bill, you can shred these unless they contain tax-deductible expenses. In that case, you’ll need to keep them with your “tax stuff.”
Join Vance Wealth to destroy old documents at our Post Tax Happy Hour / Shred Event – April 18th 5:00pm-7:00pm at the Vance Wealth Office! Cheers!
The foregoing information has been obtained from source considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Vance Wealth and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James does not provide tax services. Please discuss these matters with the appropriate professional.