NC State Regulations

Good news. The 2013 tax season did not begin this Tuesday, January 22nd, as originally intended. Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the Internal Revenue Service has given us an extra 8 days to prepare our documents to be submitted.

The vast majority of taxpayers — more 120 million households — should be able to start filing on January 30th (next week!). A small minority of households must wait for additional documentation, but this should not take long. The government anticipates that these taxpayers will be able to start filing in late February or potentially into March.

Next Wednesday, January 30th, the IRS will begin accepting tax returns. And although you have until April 15th, 2013, to file your tax returns, how are you doing getting your documents in order?

Of course it is natural that tax season comes with an extra dose of confidential information and documents that need to be protected against fraud. Among other factors, the wealth of employment records and social security numbers that individuals are handling makes the risk of fraud or stolen information even more severe. Document shredding plays a vital role in ensuring privacy compliance (for businesses), avoiding identity theft (for individuals) and overall, safeguarding confidential information.

Unfortunately as we all know, home and office shredders don’t always get the job done. Not only do you have to babysit the project, slowly and painfully feeding the shredder a few pages through at a time, but also a bag of shredded paper can be an even more attractive target for thieves. Here are a few shredding DO’s and DON’T’s to help get through this Tax Season.

Do Shred. As a rule, the vast majority of tax returns and records should be kept for at least seven years in case of an audit, but promptly thereafter should be securely destroyed (no need keeping them around for next year!). Bank and credit card statements, canceled checks and ATM receipts can typically be destroyed after one year, unless of course they are supporting your tax records. There are several other household papers that should be destroyed after use as well, including pay stubs and credit card pre-approval letters or applications.

Do NOT Shred. Be sure to keep all legal documents like wills and insurance policies in a secure and fireproof location. You don’t want these documents going anywhere. Also, hold on to records of contribution to non-deductible accounts in order to make sure you don’t end up paying more taxes than necessary in the future.

Whatever your tax preparation and file purging entail this season, be sure to remember your privacy and keep your confidential information secure.