What To Shred

Organised Chaos? It’s time to get organised.

Anytime is a perfect time to organise the mountain of documents that are piling up at home or in your office. We can offer you a one off collection of your confidential documents and can set up a regular service so that you can keep on top of your confidential waste.

Here’s some handy tips to remind you of what to keep and when it’s time to put it in the shredding containers!

You only need to keep your personal bank statements for one year but for business purposes you are recommended to keep them for 6 years, as you may need them for tax purposes.
Unless you need something on your credit card statement for tax or business purposes, or for proof of purchase for a specific item, you can add your credit card statements to your shredding bag or console after 45 days. Like the bank statements, hang on to those statements that you may need for your taxes.
Hold on to all of your tax returns and supporting documents for 7 years. The Inland Revenue can investigate your affairs going back six years and you can be fined up to £3,000 if you fail to keep the proper records. Other supporting documents that you will be sent throughout the year are P60 end of year form, P11D benefits statement, P45 if you have changed jobs, dividend vouchers from shares and investments, statements of building society interest, rental income statements and evidence of capital gains.
Keep mortgage statements for six years and once you have paid your mortgage off, ensure that you keep the deeds safe. If you ever need to sell the property, you will need the deeds as The Land Registry only started scanning them in electronically in 2003.
You will receive annual pension statements and these will show the value of your pension and the expected level of income at retirement. We recommend keeping these. If you have lost track of your previous pensions, you can use the tracing service available from the Pension Service.
You should always keep these in a safe place and electronically, if possible. If your shares are lost or stolen then you will need to prove that you are the owner.
Any copy invoices that have been kept with clients names on should be shredded
Keep for one year and be sure to match them to your annual tax statement before you shred them.
Given how hard it is to deal with health insurance companies, you should keep medical records for at least a year, though some suggest keeping records for five years from the time treatment for the symptoms ended. Retain information about prescription information, specific medical histories, health insurance information and contact information for your doctor.
Shred them after you’ve paid them, unless they contain tax-deductible expenses.
keep these documents handy, in case something goes wrong and you need to cash in on the warranty or contact a repairman.
Do you want to wait in line for an hour at your local department of motor vehicles office in order to request a duplicate of your vehicle title? Me neither, so keep this paperwork in a safe and accessible place.
Keep your homeowners, auto, disability and life insurance policies and declaration pages for as long as the policies remain in force. You can shred old policies.

Paperwork To Keep Forever

(in a fireproof safe, on the cloud or in a safe deposit box):

  • Birth/Death certificates and Social Security cards
  • Marriage Licenses and Divorce Decrees
  • Pension plan documents
  • Copies of wills, trusts, health care proxies/living wills and powers of attorney (attorney/executor should have copies)
  • Military discharge papers
  • Copies of burial deeds and plots
  • Safe-deposit box inventory

You may need to keep records longer if:

  • They show a transaction that covers more than one of the company’s accounting periods.
  • The company has bought something that it expects to last more than 6 years, like equipment or machinery.
  • You sent your Company Tax Return late.
  • HMRC has started a compliance check into your Company Tax Return.

What To Do Next

Initially, you may need to have a large clearout of documents that perhaps you have kept over the years, not realising that you could have got rid of them. We can help by providing bags that you can fill with the confidential waste and secure them with an individually numbered security tag, that we will also provide you with. If the information to be destroyed is already in boxes, then this is not a problem for us as we have a mobile shredding truck that can come on site and you can even watch the destruction of your confidential documents. Alternatively, we can provide lockable wheelie bins or secure office consoles to suit your needs for regular or one off collections.