5 Documents to Shred Securely When You Work in Retail
Every business collects paper documents containing sensitive information. Retail stores are no exception. Even the smallest corner store has to deal with mountains of invoices, tax receipts, and register tapes. Not every scrap of paper is important enough to keep, but is it safe to throw it out? Digitizing files is the first step to tame the paper tiger growling in your office. We’ll show you what to keep, recycle, or securely shred.
Managing Your Retail Business’s Sensitive Paper Records
Before dumping anything in the recycling bin, make sure you understand exactly what defines a sensitive document. Any piece of paper that contains a name, social security number, address, birth date, or banking information is considered sensitive. Identity thieves could use personal information to commit fraud and ruin an innocent person’s credit rating. Several types of documents fall into this category.
- Customer Information Documents
Taking a chance on endangering your customers’ safety or financial security is a bad practice all around. On any given day, a retail store collects paper documents that may contain a customer’s name, contact information, and credit card information. We recommend secure shredding for:
- Register receipts that include personal information
- Credit card receipts
- Customer mailing lists
- Receipts for special orders
If you think you will need any of these documents for future reference, opt to store them digitally instead of keeping paper records.
- Employee Records
If you’re confused about when to purge employee files, you’re not alone. Recommendations vary by form and by source. Keep 1-9s three years after hire but hold onto W-4s for four years—we know, it’s confusing! As a general rule, all HR records are safe to purge six years after termination.
- Tax Documents
The IRS recommends keeping tax forms and records up to seven years after filing and maintaining records indefinitely if you did not file a return. That includes all the supplemental documentation used to file a tax return.
- Business Receipts
In the world of retail, receipts pile up quickly if you don’t devise a system to keep them organized. You should keep all retail merchandise purchase documents, canceled checks, petty cash slips, and other business-related receipts for at least three years—and longer they’re tax-related. They should be securely shredded after that period.
- Supplemental Records
Any miscellaneous paper records that support tax deductions or credits should be stored with other tax documents and kept for the recommended seven years before shredding, including mileage logs and expense receipts. Cash receipts and other miscellaneous records containing personal information—whether yours, a customer’s, a supplier’s, or an employee—can be shredded immediately once recorded.
If you’ve let paperwork pile up, don’t worry. It’s never too late to get organized. Don’t make the mistake of throwing sensitive material into the trash or recycling because you’re in a hurry to get the task done. It’s better to keep paper records too long than to dispose of them improperly or prematurely.
Contact SEAM for more information about secure document shredding in South Dakota or get a free quote. SEAM offers easy on-site and off-site shredding services as well as locked document destruction carts for your convenience.