As a small business owner, you keep a lot of records and have many credit accounts, making you vulnerable to identity theft, especially during tax time When you’re filing and distributing all your tax forms, you’ll need to know how to keep your information safe.
Most businesses maintain customer information as digital records. However, there are always instances when customer data shows up on paper, either to review a customer account with an accountant or to verify personal employee information for tax purposes.
Documents to Destroy
- Customer contact information for scheduled appointments
- Customer credit applications
- Copies of customer sales receipts containing credit card or bank data
- Completed applications for employment
- Employee documentation for health insurance
- Payroll direct deposit information
Create a Document Destruction Policy
Having a formal document destruction policy defines shredding procedures for your employees to prevent identity theft for your company and your customers. These types of policies become especially helpful during tax time when questions arise about what records should be stored and what should be shredded.
A formal policy allows you to have a routinized procedure that will assist with everyday shredding, which will become critical during tax time when deadlines loom and documents that have not been reviewed for a while, suddenly see the light of day. All of these procedures being routinized reduce costs and headaches, as well as increasing legal protection if ever you are questioned.
What Does a Document Destruction Policy Look Like?
Create a policy that fits your business. Integrate applicable rules with your own actual practices to create a system under which analyzing individual files as they age will not become a time-consuming process.
Any policy should include at a minimum the following types of information:
- Procedures for closing files permanently, thus assigning them to be shred
- Designation of storage location and means (i.e., hard copies, scanned copies, combination of the two)
- Schedule for periodic review of all files in storage for appropriate time to destroy
- Designation of individuals authorized to make destruction decisions
- Guidelines for files which would not qualify for destruction no matter their age
- Details of individual types of documents which should not be destroyed.
- Approved methods of destruction
- Procedures for documenting the destruction of all files
Some tips for finding a office paper shredder for tax time.
- Large volume shredders, especially automatic shredders can make shredding an easier task at tax time.
- Shredders with anti-jam features help keeping shredding more productive.
- Also select a cross-cut shredder for ensuring all sensitive business documents are thoroughly destroyed.