Maximizing Office Space: Virtual vs. Hard Copies

Whether renting an office for a day, or leasing temporary space for a transitional 6 month period, sharing an office requires the traveler to carry light. As the cost of running business continues to increase in the United States, business owners are starting to become more creative with how to manage teams in smaller and smaller spaces. A great way to downsize the amount of clutter in your office is to throw away unnecessary documents. But knowing when to throw away what requires a little more exploration. When downsizing for a temporary office space rental, consider these points for virtualizing your data.

Tax Records

Tax Records should be saved for seven years. Most other important documents only require a two year life on hard copy, but why do tax records need to stay intact for so long. Some may joke that anything to do with the government should stay in its initial form indefinitely, but in all seriousness, tax forms require salvation from the paper shredder because they can simply check in on you whenever they want. Under reported income by 25 percent can be investigated by the IRS up to six years back, or seven if you claim a loss for debt or securities. The IRS has free reign in regards to a tax payer not filing or filing a fraudulent return. Because of this, some experts recommend you save your tax records indefinitely. These records include all deduction paperwork, canceled checks and receipts that apply to taxes (charitable contributions, retirement plan  contributions and investments).

Retirement and Investment Plan Statements

Retirement and investment plan summaries and statements should be kept until you close the account. The famed celebrity financial advisor Suze Orman recommends keeping investment documents for at least three years. She says once you get an annual statement, you can rid yourself of any quarterly updates, since it contains the same information. She says that records of trades should be kept for three years. Non-deductable contributions to IRA or conversions to a Roth IRA account should be recorded on a IRS 8606 form you file when making deposits. This document must be saved to prove that you have already paid the taxes upon retirement.

Bank Statements

Bank statements should be saved for seven years. Although you can access many of these statements now online, its best to keep your own record. It’s easy to dispute the “good nature” of banks, and although banks aren’t out to ruin their account holders financially on purpose, they do it on accident often enough. The true owner of account information online is the bank, and it can be changed. If the site goes down or experiences a hack, having your own records on hard copy will become extremely useful.


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