You have to store your tax records for at least five years after your filing date. If you own a business, you may have a lot of records, and if you don’t have room to store them at your home or office, you may need to hire a storage unit for them. To help you protect them while they are in storage, take a look at these tips:
Storing Paper Documents
If you have a lot of paper documents including expense receipts, payroll stubs, bank statements and other items, you need to ensure they don’t get wet in storage. A waterproof and fireproof safe or filing cabinet is the best option, but it can get expensive.
In lieu of that, corrugated cardboard file boxes keep your documents organised and relatively protected, but they don’t have the ability to thwart water. However, you can provide these boxes with some protection by placing them on shelves in your storage unit — don’t store them on the floor. Also, fight humidity by putting a small packet of desiccant in each box,
If you are worried about losing paper documents, you can opt to scan them all and make digital copies. However, you also have to take certain precautions when storing digital tax records.
Storing Digital Records
In many cases, business owners have a mixture of paper and digital records, and because of that, you may also be storing hard drives, old computers, USB thumb drives or any other electronics with digital records on them.
Before putting any digital records in storage, make sure that you have a copy — either make a copy onto another physical device (hard drive, thumb drive, etc.) or save copies onto a cloud storage account. If you make physical copies, ideally, you should store them in a separate storage facility or at least in a different section of your storage unit.
Choose a temperature-controlled storage facility. Unfortunately, most electronics cannot survive extreme temperatures. In addition, if you live in a humid area, look for a storage facility that uses a dehumidifier, and avoid basement units.
If possible, slip your electronic storage devices into static proof bags and then pack them carefully in cardboard boxes with packaging foam or other cushioning. Like your paper documents, electronics should not be stored on the floor in storage units — that gives them a bit of extra protection if there is flooding.
For more tips on storing records, contact a storage unit company.