Dispose of Old Computers

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

I plan to replace all my office computers when Microsoft comes out with its new Vista operating system and Office suite this year. Do you have any suggestions about how I can get rid of my old computers? In the past I tried selling them, but I only got a few takers.

It’s become a vexing problem. Some landfill operators won’t even accept computers because they contain toxic chemicals. I have two suggestions: If they still work, consider donating them to worthy causes and take a tax deduction. Local schools and community centers often are delighted to get computers in working order. Or give them to the National Cristina Foundation ( www.cristina.org ), which provides donated computers to needy nonprofits.

If the computers are dead, you might be able to return them to the manufacturer, which can salvage some parts by recycling. Dell Computer ( www.dell.com/recycle ), Apple Computer ( http://www.apple.com/environment/recycling/ ) and Hewlett-Packard ( www.hp.com/environment ) will be happy to take them. They won’t pay you, but at least they’ll take them off your hands.

Caveat: Before you dispose of them be sure to fully destroy any data on the hard disks. Ordinary erasing won’t do the trick. There are many free programs that securely delete data. To find one, do a Google search on secure file deletion.

SPONSORED REPORT

Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.

QUIZ

News quiz: IRS warning on cyberattacks and a change in pension rules

Once again, the IRS sounds the alarm about a threat from cyberthieves. See how much you know about this and other recent news with this short quiz.

CHECKLIST

Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.