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Tax season is a great time of year to clean out your filing cabinet; you are sorting through files, digging up paperwork, and deciding what to save and what to toss.

Here are some items that can be targeted for disposal:

  • Bank and Brokerage Statements (because 10 years of statements and trade confirmations are available through Schwab and Fidelity’s websites)
  • Mutual Fund Notices
  • Utility Bills
  • Credit Card Statements
  • Old Tax Returns*

*Below are guidelines from the IRS regarding the recommended holding period for prior year tax returns.

  1. Unless you owe additional tax and situations (2), (3), and (4), below, do not apply to you; keep records for 3 years.
  2. You do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return; keep records for 6 years.
  3. You file a fraudulent return; keep records indefinitely.
  4. You do not file a return; keep records indefinitely.
  5. You file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return; keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
  6. You file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction; keep records for 7 years.
  7. Keep all employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date that the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.

Once the old documents have been sorted out, it is important to safely destroy the items as the papers may contain personal information such as account numbers or Social Security numbers.

Moneta Group is proud to sponsor an annual shredding event where clients and their friends and family are welcome to bring piles and boxes of documents to the office for safe destruction. This year we have scheduled two days to accommodate our clients’ “Spring Cleaning” – Saturday, May 19, and Saturday, June 2 from 9 am to noon.

In addition to paperwork, many of us have old electronics hanging around in drawers and cabinets. Obsolete gadgets can often times be recycled for no charge. Local electronic retailers such as Best Buy or Office Depot accept recyclable electronics. Visit their website or give the store a call to find out details on what items they accept.

Please note that if you are recycling an item that contains personal data, such as a smart phone, it is a good practice to clear out the data either by deleting or resetting the settings to the factory defaults. For old computers, go one step further and destroy the hard drive. Although hard drive shredding will not be available at Moneta’s Shred Day, our shredding company—American Document Destruction—will shred them for you at their location. Hard drives must be removed ahead of time and the destruction will cost $2, which is very reasonable.