Digital documents are becoming the go-to choice for companies looking to optimize their record storage system, but there is still a need for the use of physical paper documents in many industries.
Digital records are great for filing, managing, and organizing large amounts of files quickly. Still, a limitation that’s presented with this format is the inability to distribute and share these files during face-to-face interactions and impromptu meetings.
Even with the world of business moving towards electronic filing systems, certain documents are going to be needed to be kept in physical form. These will include original copies of important contracts or files, especially those that have been marked or signed.
If you’re not quite ready to digitize your office, Record Nations offers several other options, including offsite records storage, where you can store your archival documents in a secure and climate-controlled facility.
Offsite records storage offers several unique benefits- the most sensible being the ability to store your files and keep them protected completely offsite, saving valuable space in your work space that can be better utilized.
Useful Tips for Record Storage
Even though there are a lot of advantages to scanning your documents, we understand that it might be cost-prohibitive or just plain difficult to completely digitize your office. For many companies of varying industries it’s very important, or even required, to keep the original hard copies of certain documents for a set amount of time due to legal requirements. If you don’t abide by these regulations, you could open yourself up to punishable actions and legal implications..
Here’s a short list of documents that we know require a hard-copy file on hand. Please keep in mind that this list is not 100% inclusive or exclusive—there are restrictions, regulations and requirements that vary from industry to industry and business to business. We also have a comprehensive list with time frames here.
Documents That Should Be Kept Permanently
- Keep annual tax returns permanently. This is especially important in the event of an audit. Although most audits will occur within seven years, they may also occur at anytime after that if the IRS feels that a fraudulent return has ever been filed.
- Certificates of stocks and bonds should be kept in a safe deposit box.
- Keep health records in a safe location.
- Keep any records of powers of attorney or wills. There are typically several copies of wills, one should be kept in a safe deposit box and another in a safe location within the home.
- Family birth certificates should be kept in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box. Adoption and custody records should also be kept on a permanent basis.
- Copies of death certificates should be kept in the home or in a safe deposit box.
Documents That Should be Kept Temporarily
- Keep paycheck stubs for one year and until W-2 forms or 1099 forms are received. The paycheck stubs should then be used to verify that the 1099 or W-2 forms are correct.
- For tax purposes, store W-2 forms or 1099s for seven years.
- Bills for the home should be kept for one year. Bills that are for businesses or business related activities should be kept for seven years for tax purposes.
- All mortgage statements must be stored for up to one year.
- Statements from mutual funds must be kept until the end of the year when they can be verified and reconciled.
- Bank statements and credit card statements should be kept for one year. Care must be taken with credit card statements as they are a leading source of identity theft. Keep in mind that credit card information is also available from the issuer of the card.
- Tax-deductible expense receipts should be kept for seven years. If there is a canceled check, this must also be kept for that length of time.
Documents That May be Destroyed
- Shred receipts of everyday purchases that are not tax-deductible.
- Warranties that have expired may be thrown away.
- Paperwork, such as instructions and manuals to items that a person no longer uses or owns may also be thrown away.
- Verified ATM slips, bank-deposit slips and credit card receipts must be shredded.
Get Free, No-Hassle Quotes on Document Storage Today!
Record Nations is your complete solution to all your document management needs. Whether you need physical, offsite storage, digital or cloud storage, document scanning, or even paper shredding, we can find the right service provider at the most competitive prices.
To get free, no-obligation quotes in just minutes, give us a call at (866) 385-3706 or fill out the form on the right.