Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
9 January 2008
Filed under:E-commerce at3:02 pm

Since it is tax time again I find myself looking up my online bills. Only to find that they are only saved for a year or less, when I really need to see them back to April 2006 (beginning of the tax year 06/07). Would it really cost these companies too much to make available a couple more months’ of statements online? Or even make the records available indefinitely? Otherwise I will end up having to print out some of my statements before I lose them, this missing the whole point of going paperless in the first place!


  1. My solution is to print and/or save my online bills to disk. Still paperless, but now I have a local copy (that is backed up to the other server, of course :).

    epost.ca keeps online bills for either 5 or 7 years (I can’t remember which, off-hand). But then they’re in the business of bill presentment, so they have an incentive to get it right.

    Bell Canada keeps the last 12 bills only.

    Comment by Harald — 9 January 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  2. Many people use money-management programs (and there are some really good open source ones, like Gnu Cash), which connect to your bank and automatically download your latest financial transactions etc.

    It’s kind of like POP. But of course you and I want IMAP.

    Comment by Reid — 10 January 2008 @ 6:02 am

  3. Irritating and I discoved this a long time ago with my bank.

    You should keep the first and last statements of any accounting period, in general, anyways. When you do throw out a file, I recommend keeping the first statement and the most recent (or last 12 months). Taxes I believe you need to keep 7 years records.

    For example, I believe I have one council tax bill from every property I have lived at since 1989, and 1 telephone bill. This is effective proof of address that I actually lived at those addresses.

    When I threw out 25 years of pension fund statements (beginning in Canajia in 1985 summer job) I kept the January statement for each year or the December one (which often had an annual summary).

    Comment by John — 25 January 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  4. I had a similar problem with my insurance company. They used to send me a confirmation of my payments for the tax authorities. The last one in early 2007 said that by 2008 you have to register to have the form send to you. Preparing the tax papers for 2007 I read the note again and went to their website. There it said, “this service has not been available anymore sine August 2007. Please contact your accountant.” Where is the point in that? Nearly everybody will do their tax work in the early months of the following year. So where is the hack to keep an online form online for more than a year. Have fun with your paper work.

    Comment by Wolfgang — 30 January 2008 @ 8:49 pm

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