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Handling Financial Documents

by rubybadcoe

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Handling financial documents should never be taken lightly. Tax returns, accounting reports, financial statements, and invalidated deeds of sale require delicate handling. In the wrong hands, these financial documents have the potential to damage your reputation and of those around you. Thankfully, the danger of compromised sensitive information has been more or less alleviated with the enactment of tougher privacy laws, and more stringent corporate checks and balances.

Still, the laws are only as good as the people following or enforcing them. In many cases, familiarizing yourself with the various privacy laws and the laws governing paper shredding can save your reputation. You can get things going by hiring a Los Angeles document shredding firm to ease woes about your finance records. Listed below are some of the financial records you must keep permanently, and some that deserve a date with the shredder:

Taxes and Bills

Taxation papers, such as deductions and income tax returns, are high-priority items that need to be safely stored for a long time. The Internal Revenue Service mandates that you hold on to your tax returns for up to seven years after they were filed. This gives the IRS enough time to audit for good-faith errors, or initiate the necessary steps if they discover the under-reporting of gross income. As for bills, keep those involving major purchases, such as appliances, in an insurance file.


Your payslips should be kept for a maximum of one year. When your employer furnishes you a Form W2, crosscheck it with the payslips to ensure that it matches. Any discrepancies should prompt you to seek a Form W2c; otherwise, shred the payslips.

Assorted Statements

There are vital financial statements that need closer scrutiny before they're shredded. For your 401(k), wait for the annual summary, and make sure that the quarterly files match the annual summary before shredding the quarterlies. If you have a pack of brokerage/mutual fund statements, keep the purchase and sales slips for annual taxation purposes, then destroy them once you've sold the securities.

Shredding redundant financial documents will also prevent identity theft, which has become an issue in large cities like Los Angeles; the LAPD reported 10,000 cases of identity theft in 2003. Bonded Los Angeles document shredding professionals will practice total discretion. Read for more info.

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