Moving can certainly be a stressful time, but it can also be an ideal opportunity to lighten your load — figuratively and mentally. While cleaning out your closets and donating or discarding used clothing, you should also take this time to look at your financial documents and dispose of old paperwork.
That will depend on the type of document. According to the IRS, the length of time you should keep a tax document will depend on the action, expense, or event that the document records. Generally, you should keep any records that support an item of income, deduction or credit shown on your tax return until the statute of limitations for the return expires. Most people only need to keep records from the last three years, unless they have extenuating circumstances. Any paperwork that establishes your income or deductibles should also be kept for the same time period.
When facing an office move, small business owners should also take a look at their business’ financial records in addition to their personal financial information. The same rule applies to businesses: three years of tax returns along with all backup documents, such as stock issues or losses, financial statements, and proof of asset purchases or disposals.
If you have claimed a loss in the recent past, involving either worthless securities or bad debt collection, you should keep these records for seven years. If you have employees, you should maintain all employment records for the past four years.
The financial documents you decide to keep should be brought with you in your own vehicle rather than placed on the moving truck. This is for your own financial security and peace of mind. Any documents you decide to toss should be shredded. Don’t just rip them in half and toss in the recycling.
If your business is moving to a new location after you filed your return, notify the IRS of your change of address. You can either put this in writing, call them or email them. Send written notice to the IRS Center that serves your old address, using IRS Form 8822, Change of Address. Include the Social Security number of everyone in your filing, or the EIN number for your business.
There are some things that should never be thrown out, such as deeds, wills, mortgage paperwork, bills of sale, and banking and investment papers. You may want to back these all up electronically and store them on a thumb drive. Again, take this paperwork with you in your own vehicle.
If you have items of high value, take a picture of each item with either the bill of sale or an appraisal, and then save it to a thumb drive.
To learn more about our residential and corporate moving services and how we can help you in the Dallas or Richardson areas, contact us today or fill out our online form for a free quote.