Storage & Shredding: Expert Advice

Tax Records: What To Keep and For How Long? Get Your Answers Now!

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 @ 12:31 PM

Right about now there are two types of people in the U.S., those who have done their taxes, and those who haven't. The big deadline is April 17th... a mere weekend and day away. Luckily, for both types of people, there is no deadline for figuring out what in the world to do with all of your tax and related financial documents, past and present. And thus, the question begs to be asked; how long do I need to keep all of my important tax information? And what do I need to keep?  We will start with this: three years is the golden standard for some tax documents, since that is the amount of time the IRS has to audit someone, but other documents should be kept forever, as they can come in handy in many future situations. We’ve put a table together below to help sort it all out for you…

Document Type

How long to keep it?

What to do with it?

Financial Records

(W-2’s, cancelled checks, receipts, bills, etc.)

3 years (minimum)

Securely shred after a minimum of 3 years

The tax return itself

(1040/accompanying forms, etc.)

Indefinitely

Ideally, secure storage of the hard copy documents is preferred. If that’s not an option for you, another option is to digitize the documents with a scanner and securely shred the paper documents.

Stock Purchase Receipts

(With the date and price paid for each)

Indefinitely

Secure storage or digitize and securely shred

Home Improvement Records

(To help in offsetting taxes if you ever sell your home)

Indefinitely

Secure storage or digitize and securely shred

We recommend keeping hard copy files of all of your documents until their retention time is up rather than digitizing them due to the possibility of a data breach that could lead to your digital information being stolen. Identify and credit card theft is all too common these days and any ways to reduce that possibility are always stressed and thus, the secure shredding of all of your tax and financial records once their retention time is up is necessary to keep ensuring that your information has no way of getting into the hands of a thief. The best bet for shredding is always utilizing a shredding company, brownie points if they are NAID members, who use shredders that not only tear the papers into easy to put back together strips, but pulverize the paper, turn it into pulp, and then recycle it.

Tax season already has its drawbacks, so don't let information theft be one of them... request more information on keeping your information secure by clicking any of the buttons below!

 

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(See this article for more specific information on what the above is a summary about: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/04/02/149714051/you-should-keep-tax-records-but-how-and-for-how-long)

 

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Are your Medical Records Safe? Medical Identity Theft & ill effects

Posted by Sean Kelly on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 @ 08:27 AM

I'm sure a lot of you have heard of identity theft but what about Medical identity theft? Medical Records Storage

It's possible and it's happening. A recent data breach at Beth Israel hospital in Massachusetts has left many of its patients at risk of having their medical identity stolen. Medical identity theft is a spin on regular identity theft as it can affect your finances and credit, but it can also affect your health.

What are the warning signs that someone is trying to steal your medical identity?

1. You get a medical bill for services you did not receive
2. A debt collector contacts you regarding a bill for medical services you did not receive
3. You get a copy of our credit report and you see medical collection notices that you do not recognize
4. You try to make a legitimate insurance claim but your health plan says you have reached our limit
5. You are denied medical insurance coverage because your medical records indicate a condition that you do not have


Not only could your finances be affected by medical identity theft, but your medical records and history could be altered which may lead to you receiving improper treatment which may cause illness or worse.

To stay protected, make sure you do the following...

1. Verify sources before giving out information. Giving out medical or personal information over the phone or through e-mail can be risky business and put you are higher risk of having your medical identity stolen.
2. Safeguard your medical and health insurance information. Make sure that your paper files and any medical information you have is protected either under lock and key by using a secure medical archiving vendor or, if your information is online, make sure it is password protected. Always check the security of a website before entering your social security number or credit card information.
3. Properly dispose of your records. If you keep your medical records for a period of time, when the time comes to get rid of your records, never just toss them in the trash. Make sure they are securely shredded and disposed of afterwards.


For more information on how to protect your medical identity, visit

http://www.worldprivacyforum.org/

http://ihcrp.georgetown.edu/privacy/records.html

and if you think your rights under HIPAA have been violated, please visit

www.hhs.gov/ocr

Tags: stolen identity, HIPAA, privacy, identity theft, health insurance fraud, Medical, wrong medical bill