How Long Do You Keep Your Bills

in Bills, Computers

I’ve mentioned this before, but the concept of keeping paper copies of your bills is becoming a more and more antiquated idea (in my opinion).

Keep That Paper?

It used to be that you kept your tax returns (hard copy) (and receipts!!) for 10 years (I think that might be less), and you kept your credit card bills for about 3 years and other bills for at least a year as well (if anyone wishes to correct me please feel free). This was in case problems arose or there was a disagreement about a specific bill.

The problem I have now is that I never print out my tax return, because I e-file my return. I do “print” out a copy using Adobe Acrobat, which I can look at (it looks like a regular form), and I do keep my receipts in hard copy, but I never print out my tax return. What happens if I get audited? I guess I print out my return, and find all my receipts, and off I go to see Mr. or Mrs. CRA.

Electronic Copies Take Up Less Space

I now scan all bills that arrive in the mail, so I keep an electronic record of it, but I typically shred the paper bill after it is paid. Some of my bills don’t even arrive in a paper copy anymore (my Bell bill and other bills are offering this option as well). I simply save a copy of the e-bill on my computer (and make sure I make a back up of them as well).

Less storage is needed for the paper, but are these electronic copies “legal”? I think they are, they are simply images of an original, but when would you need a bill for legal reasons? I guess if you are disputing a bill you would. Anyone have any examples of this I’d love to hear about them.

The Paper Less Society?

Are we truly in the paper-less society finally? The paper less society was a term coined in the mid-80’s as computers became more prevalent and there was an idea that Paper copies of things would become a thing of the past and all records would be kept “electronically”. Are we finally living in this utopian ideal of no need for paper records? Not really, but hopefully there is less paper being used for bills and financial tracking.

{ 2 comments }

  • Antony Pranata August 30, 2009, 1:09 PM

    I’ve been using epost.ca service from Canada Post to save my bills/statements. It’s a convenient way to manager bills from one central location.

    Reply
  • as August 27, 2009, 6:57 AM

    Used to be said that the chances for a paperless office (home accounting should apply here as well!?) were as good as the chances for a paperless toilet. It’s probably no longer tre case – most bills / statements can be now received electronically, and the Europeans / Japanese have been (for quite a while) very good regarding the latter…

    Reply

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