It’s January and that means it’s time to catch up on things like paperwork and bills. Time to pay that holiday credit card bill (ouch!) and finish up returns and exchanges. As you pay your bills and do your filing, you might notice how full your file cabinets have become over the past year. January is the perfect time to purge paper. Doing it now will not only help you feel in control, but with everything neatly filed, tax season will be a breeze!
Do you have a pile of old utility statements? These include your water, gas and electric bills as well as your cable and cell phone bills. You only need the last two months of statements. Shred the rest. Even better, sign up for paperless statements for your utilities, internet and cell phone providers and reduce those paper files permanently.
Do you receive monthly or quarterly investment statements? At this point you only need to save the year-end and tax related forms for 2016 and prior years. Many institutions provide paperless statements, sign up and never file those bulky statements again!
Shred all medical billing statements and explanation of benefits for 2016 and prior years. The only reason you would need them is if you have met the IRS medical expense threshold. Keep immunization records, lab test results and other health records for each member of the family.
You can also shred old receipts. Keep receipts for purchases such as large electronics, appliances and furniture in case you have a warranty or insurance claim. If you deposit checks using mobile deposit, check with your bank to see how long you should hang on to the original copy. Wells Fargo asks customers to keep the original check for 5 days after you’ve deposited it. Bank of America recommends holding on to the check for a week. After that it is safe to shred.
When filing, store charitable donation receipts with your current year tax documents.
Many individuals use home shredders. Others choose to take their shredding to local shredding provider. There are several shredding services in our area. Keep an eye out for free shredding services in your area. We post about free shredding events on our Facebook page, to follow us click HERE.
Paperwork can become overwhelming if not tended to regularly. We would be happy to work with you to tackle your piles, overflowing drawers and cabinets! We can implement a File Solutions® system to make future filing a snap and we will even haul away your shredding!