Celebrate Earth Day and the End of Tax Season: Shred and recycle your old tax documents

As this year’s tax filing season wraps up, you likely may by looking at your filing cabinet and thinking it might be time to reduce some of that paper weight and shred some expired tax forms.

Why not? You’ve already got the drawer open. It’s spring (meaning spring cleaning, yeah?) and Saturday is Earth Day (more on that in a bit). Why not do yourself a favor, do the Earth some good and get rid of those old tax documents?

What to Keep, What to Shred

So as you're thumbing through W-2s, 1099s, 1040s and what not of long passed years, you might be wondering which forms to keep and which to shred? According to some tax professionals, most tax-payers should keep tax records at least three years (though many tax professionals recommend seven years) following the date you filed the return, or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever comes last.

For other tax-related materials, things get a little more complicated. That’s why we’ve created this infographic as a quick, easy-to-read reference — but don’t take our word for it. Talk to your tax professional before destroying any records.

Don't Trash Your Old Records, Shred and Recycle Them!

But what do you do with all those forms and supporting documents you’ve cleaned out of your filing cabinet? Don’t just toss it into the waste bin or dumpster. Shred it all.

With the prevalence these days of identity theft, you don't want your trash to be another man's treasure — literally. It’s really easy for nefarious miscreants to dig through trash bins, dumpsters and even landfills to mine names, social security numbers, financial accounts and other information personal to you.

Even if you are using a shredder, if you’ve ever seen the movie "Argo," you would know shredded documents are easily reconstructed.

Graphic from the movie "Argo" with logo of shredded document

Ergo, we recommend either shredding with a cross-cut shredder, making your tax forms the most incredibly difficult (and boring) 1000-piece puzzle ever, or calling your local shredding company and having them do the job.

If that company is anything like us, they'll send a mobile shredding truck to your location, destroy the documents in your sight and take the paper to a processing facility where it gets turned into pulp which is then formed into paper towels, toilet paper or other paper products. In other words, your documents will be rendered totally unusable, at least for identity theft purposes.

Here’s a fun fact: Did you know one ton of shredded and then recycled paper saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of energy?

Graphic showing resources saved by shredding and recycling 411 tons of paper.

5 Ways R.K. Black Shredding Saves Natural Resources (Infographic)

So by going the shredding/recycling route, not only will you be protecting your identity, you’ll be saving the environment and the earth’s natural resources.

It’s like feeding two birds with one scone!

So celebrate Earth Day, another tax season gone by and a lighter filing cabinet by shredding your documents and then afterward going to your local coffee shop, eating a scone and throwing a few crumbs to the birds.

And don’t forget to wipe your mouth off with that napkin, possibly made of someone’s recycled tax return.

R.K. Black Shredding

If you are in need of a shredding solution, please give us a ring. Call our ShredMaster Mike Kelly at (405) 605-8888 for immediate help or click the button below and fill out the form. R.K. Black Shredding is local, mobile, fast, friendly and AAA NAID-certified secure. Call us and let us prove it to you.

About R.K. Black, Inc.

R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based, family-owned leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in and around central Oklahoma. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.

If you want to learn more about us, feel free to explore the website, read our other blogs or click the button below to be contacted by one of our reps and tell you! Also, be sure to keep watching our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter for more business tips from our blog.