parenting

Disposing of Old Paperwork With Fellowes Shredder

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It's tax time and that means it is time to get my paperwork organized. I have bank and credit card statements to dispose of and I always like to make sure that I dispose of them properly. Every time my husband and I do our taxes, I wonder what paper work we should keep and what we should shred. Identity thieves love to go dumpster diving to find paperwork with important information on it. All the more reason to own your own Shredder.

I was given a Fellowes Powershred 73Ci to review, and I can honestly say I am more excited than ever to go through my paperwork this year. I am going to shred all of my unwanted paper work. You might be asking yourself how long you should keep your paperwork. Here is a quick reference guide to make things easier.

fellowes shredder

Disposing of Old Paperwork With Fellowes Shredder

What to shred

Destroy all sensitive information including junk mail and paperwork that includes:

  • Account numbers
  • Birth dates
  • Passwords and PINs
  • Signatures
  • Social Security numbers

To protect your privacy, you should also consider shredding items that include:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • E-mail addresses

How long should I keep sensitive documents

When sorting through old papers, it’s easy to overwhelmed with which records you need to keep and those you should shred. Here are some guidelines to help you determine how long to keep records:

  • Tax Records:  Seven years, to be on the safe side. The IRS has three years to audit your return if the agency suspects you made a mistake and up to six years if you likely under reported your gross income by 25 percent or more. If you failed to file a return for any year, keep records indefinitely.
  • Pay Stubs:  One year. Compare them up to your W2 form, then shred them.
  • Bank Statements:  One year. Hold onto records related to your taxes, business expenses, home improvements, mortgage payments and major purchases for as long as you need them. Many financial institutions now provide the option to receive your bank and credit statements online instead of by mail.
  • Credit Card Statements:  At least 45 days. The rules here are similar to those for bank statements; hang on to those you may need for your taxes or as proof of purchase. Shred the rest after you’ve confirmed payment.
  • Medical Records:  At least a year, but often longer. Keep medical bills for at least a year in case of a dispute over a reimbursement. Some experts suggest keeping other records for five years from the time treatment for the symptoms ended. Hang on to information about prescription information, specific medical histories, health insurance information and contact information for your physician.
  • Insurance Records:  Keep policy information for the life of the policy plus an additional five years. Additional records such as statements, hospital bills, car repair bills, copies of prescriptions, etc. should be kept up to five years from the date the service was provided.
    Utility and phone bills:  Shred them after you’ve paid them, unless they contain tax-deductible expenses.
  • IRA Contributions:  Until you withdraw the money. You can shred quarterly statements as soon as you match them with your yearly statement.
  • Home Purchase/Sale/Improvements:  Until six years after you sell. Improvements you make and expenses such as your real estate agent’s commission are factored in when you sell your home, lowering your capital gains tax.
  • Warranties:  As long as they are current. Expired warranties can be recycled, unless they contain personal information.

 

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