Thursday, April 16, 2015 12:30 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction
With April 30th the last day to file an income tax return for 2014, many Canadians will be busy spending the next couple of weeks preparing their returns. If you, like millions of others, are currently sorting through receipts, T4s, and other slips, it’s important that you handle these documents carefully, particularly when you’re ready to dispose of them. Clever (and criminal) individuals can use the personal information recorded on these files against you — and will stop at nothing to obtain it.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), over 1.6 million Americans were affected by tax fraud in 2013, amounting to $5 billion in losses. This money was pocketed by criminals, who used ordinary Americans’ information to file and deposit their tax refunds. Closer to home, over 31,000 cases of tax-related identity theft were reported in 2013 by Equifax Canada. While these numbers can be alarming for someone in the middle of filing their taxes, they also act as a cautionary tale. By following a few general guidelines this tax season, you can avoid becoming the next victim of tax identity theft.
In the case of false tax refunds, this can only happen if individuals are careless with their personal information. All a criminal needs (in Canada) to file a false tax return is a name connected to a legitimate Social Insurance Number (SIN). If the numbers are legitimate and the file isn’t randomly chosen to be audited, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has no way of knowing that return is false until you notice a discrepancy. Until then, the fraudster will be able to pocket any money that the CRA owes you.
Any document that lists your full name, address, account numbers, and (especially) your SIN should be kept close at hand, without any chance of being shared or seen by strangers. Since the CRA requires you to keep your past tax returns and their supporting documents for 6 years, these documents should be filed safely in your home. Once the 6 years pass and you’re ready to dispose of these documents, throwing them into your garbage or recycling bins is just plain irresponsible. These containers are accessible to anyone on the street, and all it takes is for one lucky criminal to check your bins the day that you throw out your documents.
Our document destruction services guarantee you avoid such a fate. We provide banker and file boxes for those records you need to keep, and we provide bags or lockable bins for those documents you want to discard. Once you fill these containers, our bonded service representatives will arrive at your home and transport them to our mobile shredding trucks, shredding the documents on site. We can also assist you in case you complete your taxes online. Our certification of destruction extends to any digital media (like memory sticks, hard drives, or CD-ROMs) that you use to store confidential material. Our representatives can pulverize these items so that it’s impossible to retrieve any saved information from their storage.
When you’re ready to dispose of your old tax returns, be sure to request a quote for our services to see how quickly we can help you. Our methods of destroying every trace of your personal information will protect your from tax related identity theft.