How do you know when it’s time to let go? In a relationship, a couple might look for some tell-tale signs: lack of trust, one-sided effort, etc. These signs make it easier to know when it’s time to say goodbye. But what about those old documents that have been collecting dust for years in your office—is it time to cut that cord? Here are four tell-tale signs that it’s time to “securely shred those documents”:
- Your tax documents are older than seven years old. In some situations, the IRS can pursue an audit of your tax return within three years. But there are special circumstances that allow them more time. If your business took a deduction for a worthless security or bad debt, the IRS can pursue the issue for up to seven years, so after that it’s time to securely shred those records (unless of course you commit tax fraud—then there’s no limit!)
- Your employee left over three years ago. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Regulations require that employers keep all personnel or employment records for one year after a person has left their job. Under ADEA recordkeeping requirements, employers must also keep all payroll records for three years. So those records for the employee that quit a decade ago are usually okay to shred.
- You’re running out of space…just kidding, this is actually not a good reason to get rid of documents. In fact, it’s a horrible reason! Getting rid of documents because you don’t have space for them can result in some major headaches and legal issues. If you’re running out of space, look into a professional document storage service like Stevens & Stevens BRM, Inc.
- Your reporting tells you it’s time! This is the easiest sign of them all. At Stevens & Stevens BRM, Inc. we use the industry’s leading records information management system and our state-of-the-art barcode tracking system to track your information through every stage of the process. This enables us to give you proactive reporting on containers, file folders and tapes. You won’t have to worry about remembering that specific month or year when they should be destroyed.
Every company’s document retention may vary. Always check first with your legal advisor before destroying any important documents. Know when it’s time to hang on and when it’s time to let go; then leave it up to Stevens & Stevens BRM, Inc. and our proactive reporting to notify you when that time comes.