Are You Shredding These Documents?
You’re feeling good about your document retention policy, but do you have a document destruction plan? Keeping paper records too long exposes your company to identity theft and fraud. Here are several categories of documents you should be shredding:
Tax Records and Financial Documents
With the April 15th tax deadline on the horizon, many companies are busy gathering their filing documents. Most tax return records can be destroyed after seven years, but it’s a good idea to verify retention requirements with your accountant. Other financial records to consider shredding include:
- Client contracts
- Purchase orders
- Bank statements
- Balance statements
- Credit memos
Many organizations stockpile these documents longer than needed. Use a one-time purge shredding service when destroying large quantities of expired financial documents.
Healthcare providers such as physicians, dentists, pharmacists, etc., must follow the Health Information and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. Any organization that processes or transmits protected health information (PHI) must also abide by HIPAA regulations.
Proper disposal of PHI is a requirement of HIPAA. Failure to dispose of paper or electronic medical records in accordance with HIPAA can result in monetary penalties or possible criminal charges. This is one reason why PHI should never be thrown in the trash or recycle bin. Hiring a reputable shredding and destruction company is the most effective way to ensure your healthcare practice complies with HIPAA. This doesn’t mean your shredded paper won’t be recycled; ask you shredding company about their recycling practices.
Personnel and Employment Records
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) states, “any employer whose action or inaction results in the loss of employee information can be fined by federal and state government and sued in civil court.” So, as an employer, you must destroy expired payroll documents, employment applications, and employee tax records. A NAID AAA Certified shredding and destruction provider can help you destroy these documents in a secure and ethical manner.
Many documents don’t fall into clear-cut categories. When in doubt, shred any expired paper records that have confidential or private information, including:
- Sales and marketing data
- Trade secrets
- Personally identifiable information (PII)
For more guidance on what documents to destroy and when to shred them, please call us at 800-685-9034 or complete the form on this page.