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Cold day task – Scan, Archive & Shred! (Record Retention)

By: admin

Perhaps like you, I’m doing my annual tax record paperwork housekeeping on this bitter January day.

For me, this means reviewing then shredding records from 2009 (and earlier);
and moving 2015 from my 2-drawer desk system to the garage;
and then shifting 2016 to the left;
and setting up the 2017 files in my “current-year” drawer.

Before throwing out everything from 2009, I reviewed the Record Retention Schedule from my CPA’s website since there are some files to keep forever.

All of this is for my personal files. For my real estate firm and my own investments, we’ve been a paperless-filing office since the firm was started. This means that, while there is plenty of paper floating around the office, there isn’t a single filing cabinet used for records. Everything is stored electronically.

We scan all documents needed and then carefully file them in well-organized folders and subfolders. Then we back up our storage four different ways, including two methods that are off-site so in the event of a fire or theft, we won’t lose everything.

Benefits of electronic filing include that there is no large annual archiving and shredding project (just my home files) since everything is filed permanently throughout the year. I only need to create the new folder/subfolders in for the new year.

Another benefit is that this procedure makes finding records very fast and efficient, for example, when selling a property, researching old business or filing for a new mortgage.

This information is shared for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or accounting advice. Your needs may be different and we recommend that you consult with a legal or tax professional.

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