If you feel like you're drowning in documents, it's probably time for some cleaning. However, you have to be careful about what you keep and what you shred. Once shredded, many important documents can’t be replaced. Let's have a look at a few guidelines.
Got a Business License? Keep It
With business licenses, the question should really be which frame to put it in, not whether to shred it or not. It's one of the most important documents standing at the base of your business. This is why you should display it proudly on a wall. It doesn't matter how many copies of the license you have online or offline. Keep the original.
Did You Get a Loan for Your Business? Keep the Loan Documents!
Loan documents are extremely important, so you should keep them. Getting copies made of the documents is also a good idea. This way, you’ll still have something to show in case you lose the originals. However, keep in mind that the original is always better, so keep these documents in a safe place.
Insurance Policies Should Stay With You
Getting insurance for your business is a must in many cases. This will protect you from costs that you couldn't have predicted. Because your insurance is so important, the details of the policy are equally worthy of your attention. So, take the policy contract and put it in a safe place. It's a good idea to have a digital copy as well, just in case something happens.
Got Employees or Have Performed Bank Transactions? Keep Documents for a Year, Then Shred
Paystubs and bank statements should be kept for at least a year. After this period, it's your choice to keep or shred them. However, remember that simply throwing them away is a very bad idea. These types of documents have to be shredded, because they contain sensitive information. After a year, throw them in the shredder if they’re just taking up space.
Got Tax Records? Keep Them for Seven Years
You are required to keep your tax records for at least seven years. If you want to be on the safe side, you can keep them for longer than that. However, once you're ready to get rid of them, feed them to a shredder.
What Else Should You Shred?
Shredding is usually done to keep private information private. It saves you the trouble of fighting against identity theft. Because of this, it's a good idea to shred any documents related to work or finances, or that contain personal details, when you’re ready to get rid of them. This will ensure you're on the safe side. There are a few things that should always be shredded. Voided or cancelled checks should go into your "to shred" pile. Anything else that's expired or that was never used, such as contracts and other records should be shredded. Anything else that has signatures on it should also meet the same fate.
Shredding is a good way to get rid of documents that are no longer useful. However, you have to be careful about what goes in the shredder. Otherwise, you might end up throwing away something important.
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