Tax season brings many different challenges with it. From compiling receipts to making the right calculations, there are several different tasks that have to be completed before you can relax and put taxes out of your mind for another year. However, even after your taxes have been sent off, you still need to consider how you’ll look after the copies of your taxes that you’re required to keep.
The required time for keeping tax returns varies according to the different circumstances of an individual or business, but the rules of good record storage are largely the same.
Storing Physical Copies?
If you’re storing physical copies of your tax returns – that is, paper documents – then proper security for you comes down to controlling access to them. Many individuals store their returns in a dedicated file folder or cabinet. What many fail to consider is that these access points also need to be protected by a locking mechanism.
The idea is that even if someone gains access to the room in which your returns are kept, they won’t be able to open the container that holds them. A drawer provides no protection for your information unless you can lock it with a key. You should also make sure that the room you’re keeping your records in is similarly secure. The difference between a safe tax return and a canvas for the youngest member of the family is a lock on the door of the room they’re kept in.
Storing Digital Copies?
You’re likely to have some paper copies of your taxes kicking around, but for the best security (and in case of emergency), you should also have some digital copies stored on e-media devices. You might also prefer the ease of searching through them and the enhanced portability they offer. And yet, as you’ve likely guessed, digital copies require security, too.
The first task on your list should be to encrypt your digital files. Encryption protects them from being opened by anyone without the correct password, so even if you lose your flash drive in a parking lot, the person who discovers it won’t be able to breeze through your records.
The second level of protection is, as with your paper documents, to restrict access to them. If you’re storing your returns on a household computer with WiFi access, it’s imperative that you password-protect your internet connection, even if you anticipate only other members of the household using it. Keep a backup of your tax records, but keep the backup in a separate, secondary location from the original files. This way, if a hacker gains access to your computer or a natural disaster wipes out your hard drive, you’ll still have a working copy to fall back on.
Discarding Unneeded Copies?
At some point, you’ll no longer need to keep specific records or receipts from previous years. In this instance, no matter whether they’re stored on paper or in a digital format, you’ll need to make sure that they’re securely destroyed.
It may be tempting to try and DIY your own security protocol, but think twice before you reach for the scissors. Unless your documents are processed by a professional shredding company, there’s a good chance that a thief with enough stubbornness and free time will be able to piece the information back together – and once they have access to your personally identifiable information (PII), they’ll be able to gain access to your personal and financial accounts.
Instead of putting yourself and your information at risk, outsource the task to a purge shredding service. You’ll only pay for the service you need, you won’t have to commit to any long-term contracts, and they’ll have both the equipment and the experience to properly discard your information. They can process papers and e-media, and they’ll immediately remove the shredded particles for recycling at a secure facility, eliminating any chance whatsoever that your information could be lost or stolen in transit.
Plus, at the conclusion of your purge shredding service, you’ll be provided with a Certificate of Destruction. If you ever need to prove where your records went or to what extent they were discarded, the Certificate will function as proof that you outsourced the task to a certified, professional document shredder.
Protect Your Information With Purge Shredding
At Secure Shredding & Recycling, our number one priority is to ensure the safety and security of your information. That’s why we’re AAA Certified by the National Association for Information Destruction, and that’s why every facet of our service – from the moment we collect your documents to the second we recycle the remnants – is designed to keep your information confidential.
We’ve also designed our services to be flexible enough to meet whatever your shredding needs are, from a regularly scheduled service for busy offices to a one-time purge shredding option for quick and thorough disposal of old documents. Our staff is ready to help you create the shredding plan you need for the safety of your private papers.
To learn more about purge shredding services from Secure Shredding & Recycling, give us a call at (225) 751-8535. You can also send us a message online.
As a business owner or manager, you already know how important good document management is for your company. It’s what ensures that projects are completed on time, that clients are kept informed and updated, and it’s what allows your employees to perform their daily tasks with minimal interruption. The care and keeping of information are so important that it’s not unusual for companies to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn how to do it correctly. However, the most important part of a document’s life cycle isn’t when it starts – it’s when it ends.
Protecting documents when you no longer need them can be challenging, especially if your company (like most) lacks both the training and equipment to do so correctly. A certified document destruction service is an easy way to close the gap, but it isn’t just your company you’ll be helping. Your customers care a lot more about document destruction than you might think, and by making a choice to outsource your paper shredding to a trusted service provider, you’re cementing yourself as one of their preferred companies to do business with.
What is a Document Destruction Service?
A document destruction service is a service provided by a professionally accredited company that allows businesses and residents to safely and securely destroy documents or other items that may contain personally identifiable information. These services can be provided on a one-time or a scheduled basis and can be performed on-site at the client’s location or at the company’s secure facility.
The most common items submitted for destruction are usually papers or documents, but hard drives, e-media, and physical products can also be processed by a document destruction service.
Why Do Your Customers Care if You Have One?
Given the nature of the business, it’s tempting to assume that only you and your company have any interest in document destruction services. After all, you and your employees are the only ones utilizing or handling the information, and you’re the ones responsible for its safe destruction, so why would it matter to anyone else how it’s discarded?
Taking the initiative to outsource your shredding to a professional document destruction service sends a clear message that the information entrusted to your care is valuable and that you’re 100% committed to ensuring its safety. That matters to your customers, who have a choice between you and your closest competitor. What do you have that your competitor lacks? Often, it comes down to who’s willing to go above and beyond with their service.
Document destruction signals to your client that you’re unwilling to leave the safety of their information to chance or improper disposal, and that means they can trust you well after their business with you has concluded. That’s the kind of reputation that is priceless, and it’s what your customers need to hear in order to return time and time again.
What Can a Document Destruction Service Do for You?
A good document destruction service doesn’t just pick up and destroy your items on a schedule. They make it possible for you to keep your office clean and your files in neat order. They allow you to safely discard deeply confidential records, records that may contain a customer’s intimately personal financial details or healthcare reports.
Destruction services that hold AAA Certification from the National Association for Information Destruction, such as Secure Shredding & Recycling, have demonstrated to the ranking institution in the field that they are committed to operating in complete accordance with the latest state and federal privacy laws.
For you, this means that the obligation to discard personally identifiable information (PII) in a safe and appropriate manner is fulfilled simply by outsourcing the task to this particular destruction service. It allows you to focus your time and resources on your business and integrate proper document disposal seamlessly into your daily operations.
Reliable Destruction from Secure Shredding & Recycling
Secure Shredding & Recycling is locally owned and operated, and we’re proud to serve our home state of Louisiana with professional, fast, and affordable document destruction services. From one-time purge shredding to clear out a storage room to regularly scheduled paper shredding to ensure no confidential documents are left unprotected, our range of services is designed to suit any volume of shredding needs.
If you’d like to learn more about our document destruction services, call us at (225) 751-8535. You can also contact us online.