FAQ

Below are some questions we have been asked in the past.

Click on the question to reveal the answers. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for please contact us now! Click here to contact us.

I have records I want to have destroyed. What are my options?

You have several options, each of which varies in terms of security and cost.

1. You can purchase a good office shredder and shred it yourself. This option provides the highest level of security, but has several drawbacks. Most office shredders are limited to less than 10 documents at a time and all fasteners, but staples must be removed. It will take an entire day to destroy what Hudson Valley Shred & Recycle can handle in less than fifteen minutes.

2. You can take your documents to a local Recycler who will naturally destroy your documents in their process, however most paper is just baled and sold on the open market, frequently going overseas. Some Recyclers have a shredding capability and this is your least expensive option, however this is generally considered the least secure method.

3. You can use a shredding service. A shredding service will come to your location and either shred your documents On-Site or take them back to their facility to be shredded.

What is the difference between On-Site Shredding and Off-Site Shredding?

An Off-Site shredding service will issue a Certificate of Destruction just like an On-Site service. They will come to your location, collect the material, take it back to their facility and promise to shred it, usually within 24 hours. Still, no option is as secure as shredding on-site, providing you the peace of mind of knowing your documents are safely destroyed and the opportunity to witness the process on our full-color monitors.

What is a Certificate of Destruction?

A shredding service issues a certificate saying they destroyed the material given to them.

Does a Certificate of Destruction guarantee my documents were destroyed? What if something I thought was shredded turns up later?

There is no guarantee with any type of service. Recycling companies have been known to issue Certificates of Destruction because the material does end up being destroyed in the recycling process. Since any shredding service does not know what is given to them or if there are other copies, they can offer no guarantee that any particular document was destroyed. The only way to be absolutely sure is to shred yourself or to use an On-Site service where you can watch the material being destroyed.

Why is On-Site shredding more expensive than Off-Site?

Historically, Off-Site shredding services are companies in the recycling business, which have added a dimension to their business by offering shredding. They are able to sort their clients documents into the various types before shredding and get a higher price from the paper mills. They are also able to save money by using a much less expensive truck for collections than a truck configured with a shredder.

Will Hudson Valley Shred & Recycle recycle my shredded documents?

Yes. All shredded paper products are taken to a local Recycler. Right now there is actually quite high demand for recycled products around the world.
Click for Benefits of Recycling

What if my material has staples, paper clips, or other fasteners?

These items are no problem for either our shredders or the Recyclers. We can also do binders, books, and small amounts of discs and CD ROMs in the regular paper shredding pick-ups.

How can I estimate my shredding needs?

We try to convert customer volume estimates into standard amounts in order to determine the price estimate as well as when we have time in our schedule and room in our truck to do the job in one visit.

  • A copy paper box holds approximately 40-50 lbs.
  • The 30 gallon bag that collects material in our 36″ executive console holds approximately 100 lbs. (see Bins and Consoles Tab)
  • The 64 gallon roll-away bin holds approximately 200 lbs.
  • The 95 gallon roll-away bin holds approximately 300 lbs.

What is Scheduled Service?

Scheduled Service by an On-Site shredding service is an alternative to shredding the day to day confidential documents with an office shredder. We place our locked Executive Consoles or Secured Roll-Away Bins in the offices of our route clients and return on a set schedule to shred the contents. There is not a shredder inside of the consoles, rather a large bag into which the documents are deposited. When we come to service the site, the consoles remain stationary. We remove the full bags, secure them and place an empty bag inside the console. The full bags are then transported in a Secured Roll-Away Bin to our shredder truck in the parking lot where the material is destroyed. Alternatively, clients with Secured Roll-Away Bins are provided with an empty Roll-Away Bin and the full Roll-Away Bin is transported to our shredder truck in the parking lot for destruction. Only our bonded and insured employees and the contact person at the client have the key to unlock the shred containers. Materials are never left unattended or unsecured prior to shredding. Our “hands free” shredding process means our employees do not directly handle your documents. The paper is deposited directly from the collection bins into the shredding compartment via the bin hoist on the side of the truck.

What is a purge job? What happens if I underestimate my needs?

Purge jobs are for clients who may have less regular document destruction needs; purges may be appropriate for a year-end clean out or a big move. Using the volume estimates detailed in a prior question, we will quote you a price. If the actual volume far exceeds the estimate, we will adjust the fee as needed.

How do I know if I have the proper # of containers & proper service frequency?

For the first 90 days of service, we will note the fill level of each console on the invoice. The client can then decide whether to remove, add or move consoles or change the frequency. Extension of this monitoring period is available upon request.

What are the charges for delivering or removing containers?

There are no charges for delivery or pickup. There are also no charges for the use of our consoles. Clients with consoles will be serviced on a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly basis as established in the initial consultation. If service becomes less frequent than monthly, we will remove the containers.

Why does HV Shred & Recycle charge a flat fee for service rather than by the time?

The speed at which a shredder destroys material is dependent upon a number of factors including the type of shredder, humidity, sharpness of the knives, type of paper and the way the shredder is fed the paper. We have found that our clients do not wish to be concerned about the speed at which the Hudson Valley Shred & Recycle’s employee or equipment works. By setting a fixed price per container, this is not the client’s problem. Clients are also able to budget for the service in this fashion.

What if the container gets full?

You have the option of leaving the material near the container clearly marked for shredding or, in the case of a console, changing out the 30 gallon bag with a replacement bag, also provided by us at no charge. We will not collect and shred material if it is not clearly marked. With shredding, there is no reconstruction and we are careful to avoid mistakes of this nature. If you are regularly over-filling the container or otherwise exceeding the initial estimates, we may encourage you to increase your service frequency or number of containers.

Is there anything that cannot be shredded?

Our state of the art truck will shred just about anything. When needed, we can destroy items such as hard drives, reel tapes, cassette tapes, and large amounts of plastics, discs, or CD ROMs. If the volume is considerable, we may need to schedule a special “product” run, as these items must be disposed of in a landfill.

What customer support do you offer?

We recognize that customer satisfaction is earned with every service. We encourage you to contact us via e-mail or phone at any time. We guarantee we will respond within one business day.

What To Shred?

Every business produces proprietary information that requires shredding once its usefulness has expired. In fact, companies are legally bound to destroy confidential documents related to their employees or clients.

When these laws are ignored and information ends up in a dumpster, a business exposes itself to the dual risk of criminal exploitation and civil prosecution—as well as the loss of credibility in the eyes of valuable clients. Protect yourself using our secure paper shredding services.

In order to mitigate risk, secure papers and documents on the personal, corporate, and client levels should be destroyed on a regular schedule, as soon as it has outlived its usefulness. HV Shred, Inc. provides a secure paper shredding service.

No matter what type of data your business generates—the information you choose to protect when in use should also be protected when you discard it!


DOCUMENT RETENTION-SUGGESTED GUIDELINES

Maybe it’s a good thing that the April 15th tax deadline and the urge to spring clean coincide. It feels good to throw out some of the financial records stuffing your filing cabinets. But before you head for the dumpster, make sure you’re not disposing of records you may need. You don’t want to be caught empty-handed if an IRS auditor contacts you. The following are suggested guidelines; please check with your tax/industry professionals for specifics to your unique situation.

Of course, before tossing out financial documents, shred them thoroughly.

Business Record Guidelines
Employee earnings:
Maintain for a minimum of four years, to meet various state and federal requirements.
Employee time cards: Keep for at least three years if your business is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (engaged in interstate commerce), although it’s a good practice for all businesses to keep the files for several years in case questions arise.
Personnel records:Retain three years after an employee has been terminated.
Employment tax records: Keep four years from the date the tax was due, or the date it was paid — whichever is longer.
Employee business expenses: For travel and transportation expenses supported by mileage logs and other receipts, keep supporting documents for the three-year statute of limitations period.
Sales tax returns: State regulations vary. For example, New York generally requires sales tax records to be retained for three years, while California requires four years, and Arkansas, six. Check with your tax adviser for the required record retention period for returns and supporting documents.
Business property:Records used to substantiate the cost and deductions (such as depreciation, amortization and depletion) associated with business property must be maintained to determine the basis and gain (or loss) on the sale. Keep these for as long as you own the asset, plus seven years, according to IRS guidelines.

In general, you must keep records that support items shown on your individual tax return until the statute of limitations runs out — generally three years from the due date of the return, or the date you filed, whichever is later. In most cases, the IRS can audit your return for three years. You can also file an amended return on Form 1040X during this time period if you missed a deduction, overlooked a credit or misreported income.

So, does that mean you’re safe from an audit after three years? Not necessarily. There are exceptions. For example:

If the IRS has reason to believe your income was understated by 25 percent or more, the statute of limitations for an audit increases to six years.
If there is suspicion of fraud or you don’t file a tax return at all, there is no time limit for the IRS.
How Long to Keep Documents

Like most issues involving the IRS or other government agencies, there’s no easy answer to that question. The IRS does not require you to keep records in any particular way. But here are some basic guidelines to follow for individuals (Guidelines for businesses are in the right-hand chart):

Completed tax returns. Many tax advisers recommend that you hold onto copies of your finished tax returns forever. Why? So you can prove to the IRS that you actually filed. Even if you don’t keep the returns indefinitely, you should hang onto them for at least six years after they are due or filed, whichever is later.

Backup records. Any written evidence that supports figures on your tax return, such as receipts, expense logs, bank notices and sales records, should generally be kept for at least the three year period.

Exceptions. There are some cases when taxpayers get more than the usual three years to file an amended return. You have up to seven years to take deductions for bad debts or worthless securities, so don’t toss out records that could result in refund claims for those items.

Real estate records. Keep these for as long as you own the property, plus three years after you dispose of it and report the transaction on your tax return. Throughout ownership, keep records of the purchase, as well as receipts for home improvements, relevant insurance claims, and documents relating to refinancing. These help prove your adjusted basis in the home, which is needed to figure the taxable gain at the time of sale, or to support calculations for rental property or home office deductions.

Securities. To accurately report taxable events involving stocks and bonds, you must maintain detailed records of purchases and sales. These records should include dates, quantities, prices, dividend reinvestment, and investment expenses, such as broker fees. Keep these records for as long as you own the investments, plus the statute of limitations on the relevant tax returns.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The IRS requires you to keep copies of Forms 8606, 5498 and 1099-R until all the money is withdrawn from your IRA accounts. With the introduction of Roth IRAs, it’s more important than ever to hold onto all IRA records pertaining to contributions and withdrawals in case you’re ever questioned.
If an account is closed, treat IRA records with the same rules as securities. Don’t dispose of any ownership documentation until the statute of limitations expires.

Issues affecting more than one year. Records that support figures affecting multiple years, such as carryovers of charitable deductions, net operating loss carry backs or carry forwards or casualty losses, need to be saved until the deductions no longer have effect, plus seven years, according to IRS instructions.

These general record keeping guidelines are for tax purposes. Insurance companies and creditors may have other requirements

What to Shred-General Guidelines?

Excerpted from Personal Record Keeping—Prevent Identity Theft

by Steven Hastert

Learn how to prevent identity theft with the article below. Personal record keeping is imperative to ensure the prevention of identity theft. Learn how to improve your personal record keeping and systems for personal record management . What to do with all those personal receipts, documents and tax returns? Let this article on personal record management help you.

Is your file cabinet bulging with another year’s worth of tax documents? Are you keeping every single bill, tax return, insurance invoice, medical documentation, contract and even the warranty for that 15-year-old coffee maker you don’t even own anymore? If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions then you are not alone. Many people are not sure how long to retain their financial records.

With the threat of identity theft coming largely from paper documents it is good practice is to shred all the records you should no longer retain, especially those with your personal information. Expired documents can pose a threat to your financial health and may not provide you with any useful information.

At least once a year you should go through your files and shred everything that is no longer needed. With this volume of shredding you should consider using a shredding service. A personal shredding service like Express Destruction can save you from wasting a day burning up your personal shredder and is very affordable.

When it comes to personal records retention guidelines, there aren’t any hard and fast rules but these are some basic guidelines for the retention of your personal records.

Tax Returns.
The general rule for tax records is to retain them for seven years. When you file the new return shred the newly expired one. The IRS has 3 years to audit you from the date you file your taxes and it is up to you to have all of the backup information that went into the preparation of your returns.

Bank Statements. The only reason to keep bank statements is if you are thinking about applying for a mortgage and that would be a three-month history. Otherwise, the bank has all of your records if a need arises.

ATM Receipts. Keep these until you balance your bank statement and then shred them.

Credit Card Statements.
It is recommended that you keep three months on hand.

Examples of secure documents to shred:

Personal Information:
Addresses
ATM receipts
Bank account information
Bank statement
Brokerage account information
Canceled & voided checks
Credit & debit card numbers
Credit reports and histories
Drivers’ license numbers
Employee pay stubs
Employment records
Insurance policy data
Investment documents
Medical and dental records
Passport number
Resumes
Social Security number
Telephone number
Tax forms
Travel itineraries
Used airline tickets

Files and Records:
Account records
Audits
Bank statements
Competitive information
Computer records
Contracts
Correspondence
Diligence files
Fax machine ribbons
Financial records
Insurance records
Intellectual property records
Internal memos
Invoices
Legal documents
Market research
Marketing material
Obsolete contracts
Official notices
Payroll records
Personnel files
Phone records
Tax records
Training information
X-rays
Client Data
Business plans
Canceled checks
Computer reports
Credit card numbers
Executive correspondence
New product information
Obsolete collateral
Photographs
Presentations
Price/inventory lists
Proposals and quotes
Proprietary documents
Receipts/invoices
R&D files/data
Planning documents
Price lists
Purchase receipts
Sales forecasts

Non-Document Destruction:
CD-ROMs/CD-Rs/DVDs
Computer Backups
Microfiche
X-Rays
Videotapes
Cassette Tapes
Casino Chips
Product Samples
Prototypes