So one of the first useful tips I wrote about was To Scan All Your Bills, so you didn’t necessarily need to keep paper copies of them.
I still continue to do this, although I do keep paper copies as well, for things that I am sure that the CRA might want to look at if I make claims on my taxes like:
- Tuition receipts for University and my son’s schooling
- Utilities bills, as I do claim part of those as business expenses
The interesting updated idea that I have changed to is that I no longer only save these images on my computer at home (which is being backed up). There are now many different services that offer free off-site backup of files such as:
- Google drive, which comes with your Gmail account
- Dropbox which is an app that runs on many devices
- Outlook has file space for you
- iCloud from Apple
- Even Ubuntu One offers some free disk space
I am a little leery to use “the cloud” for this kind of storage, so you might want to encrypt them if you use these services, as you never know who the heck might look at your files from elsewhere.
The interesting part about the scanning of my bills was that I did exactly that when I was asked for receipts from the CRA, and I sent them scans of the documents in question, and they seemed happy enough with that. My guess is if it was an actual audit, they would want to see the originals, but for a “request for receipts” the government seems happy enough with a scanned image now as well.
Unfortunately you need to keep your paper records for a while before you can safely dispose of them (i.e. shred and/or burn), but maybe we are finally getting away from paper copies of things?