Cintas and Accounting Firm Brixey & Meyer Issue Tax Day Tips to Protect Personal Information
CINCINNATI– April 18, 2011 — In conjunction with Tax Day on Monday, April 18, Cintas, a leader in secure document management, and Brixey & Meyer, a full-service accounting and business advisory firm, issued tax tips to help consumers protect their confidential information and remain compliant with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
“In 2009, revenue department officials identified more than 29,000 tax-related stolen identity cases,” said Douglas Meyer, a certified public accountant (CPA) for Brixey & Meyer. “Tax returns contain an abundance of personal information including your name, address and social security number. It’s important to take precaution to keep your sensitive information out of the hands of identity thieves.”
Meyer, a co-founder and a tax consulting partner for Brixey & Meyer, provided the below tips for preparing and disposing tax documents safely. Please consult your legal advisor for specific retention schedules appropriate for your personal records.
- Create a retention policy. Keep all tax returns for at least three years. In addition to returns, keep supporting documents such as receipts, mileage logs, invoices, bank statements and cancelled checks to support your return in case the IRS conducts an audit. Items to keep for more than three years, as they could affect future tax returns, include documentation of major assets such as homes, vehicles, substantial gifts and stock purchases.
- Use a qualified tax preparer. If filing with a professional, ensure they are a certified public accountant. The IRS is becoming much more stringent regarding who is eligible to sign tax returns so it’s critical to ensure your preparer is qualified. Also, inquire about the company’s security policy to ensure your confidential information will remain safe and secure.
- Keep proof of filing. Whether physically mailing your tax returns or filing electronically, keep proof of delivery forever. The IRS has no statute of limitations on returns not filed, so a receipt will serve as proof. If mailing your returns, send all items via certified mail. This provides confirmation of mailing and delivery and helps keep your identity safe. When filing electronically, print out the confirmation that your return was accepted.
- Securely shred documents no longer needed. After three years, securely shred old tax returns and supporting documents. Home shredders do not sufficiently protect individuals from identity theft. Identity thieves can reconstruct your documents using software. Instead, have your documents destroyed by a professional organization that offers secure shredding services. Select a provider that is AAA-NAID certified, which ensures the company complies with the most stringent operational security procedures in the industry.
- File returns electronically if possible. By filing electronically, you eliminate the risk of your return getting lost in the mail and ending up in the wrong hands. Filing electronically provides an extra level of security and also enables you to receive your refund faster if eligible.
- Store documents in a secure place. Keep records in a safe, secure place. Ideally, store documents in a fire-proof, locked safe to protect your documents from catastrophic events and burglars.
“As consumers, we all must properly manage our tax documents to remain compliant with the IRS and protect ourselves from identity theft,” said Chad Schiesler, Controller, Cintas. “By following these simple tips and being informed of the risks associated with improper document management, consumers can help keep their information safe and secure.”
Cintas offers customized document management consultations, as well as secure document shredding, storage and imaging programs. Its services are designed to provide businesses with data privacy and security, compliance with regulatory requirements and more efficient control and access to information. Cintas is the first North American AAA NAID-certified and PCI-DSS compliant document management provider.
For more information on Cintas’ document management programs, please visit www.cintas.com/documentmanagement/.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, first aid and safety products, fire protection services and document management services to approximately 800,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CTAS, and is a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.