Managing your budget

26 January 2017

Electronic documents vs paper documents: do they have the same legal value?

Paperwork takes up a lot of space in our lives. Every day documents sent by post and e-mail pile up. Yet you can reduce your paper consumption by digitalising your document! Nowadays electronic and paper documents have the same legal standing. The law has established this validity.

Digital equivalence

Tax returns, pay slips, invoices, guarantees, rental agreements… Year after year the files stack up. What can you do to cut such paper consumption?

Nothing could be easier: simply reduce the use of paper documents to the benefit of digitalised documents. In the past everything needed to be stored in the paper format. But these days documents can be digitalised. Electronic documents now have the same legal equivalence as paper documents. The law has established this validity.

Digitalisation: easy, simple and secure

The form your document takes is no longer an issue. You can just as easily save your documents electronically on your computer, on an external hard drive, or on a cloud. Start to save space straightaway by digitalising your documents. Plus, using less paper is also good for the environment!

The golden rule when saving documents is that you should save the original document. Store the electronic document as you received or downloaded it. As this electronic document is the original. If the document is attached to an email, save this e-mail too as proof of receipt. A digital document is also easier to send or forward by e-mail. You can still print out a paper version of the electronic document. Yet the printed version is no longer considered as an original, but as a copy.

Ever more electronic documents can be downloaded. Many companies now send their pay slips digitally. You can receive your electricity, gas and water bills by e-mail or download them online. You can also fill in and submit your tax returns online via Tax-on-web. And some shops have already made the switch to electronic receipts. A number of retailers even offer the option to save your guarantee on your e-ID card. To familiarise yourself with digital documents, why not opt for electronic account statements too? Banks are also becoming more ecologically-minded. Easy, simple and safe!

The advantage of electronic account statements

Electronic account statements offer nothing but advantages. For starters, they save space. By law you are obliged to store account statements for five years, the tax authorities can even ask to go back seven years. If the statements relate to debt repayments, you must keep them for ten years. For this entire time, paper statements will be collecting dust and taking up space. But in digital form, these account statements take up no space at all! It is also much easier to find and manage your documents on your computer.

Moreover electronic statements are great for your wallet as you will not pay any postage. You will also save considerable time as you no longer need to go to a branch and it is up to you to decide how you manage them. Unlike statements sent by post, you will not risk losing them. Given the convenience... why hesitate to switch to electronic statements?

How to switch to digital statements

The digital format means that we will not send you any more paper statements and you will not have to print out any statements at a branch. Using Home'Bank, simply select the accounts for which you would like to receive electronic statements. You can then manage, request, download and digitally archive your account statements 24/7.

The security of transactions via Home'Bank is the utmost. Those of the last 12 months are always available online. If you should want to print a statement, this is still possible. What if your computer crashes? We also store your statements in our systems. Older statements can always be obtained from a branch. Consequently there is no risk!

What are you waiting for?

Make life easier by switching to electronic statements straightaway. Make an appointment at one of our branches or call our help desk on +32 2 464 60 04.