What is a Bank Transaction Receipt and its Benefits for Your Business

Whenever you visit a bank and make a monetary transaction, such as a deposit or withdrawal, the bank will provide you with a bank transaction receipt. This is how banks keep an accurate and up-to-date record of all financial transactions conducted at a given location by various account holders. 

Since this financial term is used in many situations in daily life, it’s good to have a basic understanding of bank transaction receipts and how your business can benefit from them. 

What is a bank transaction receipt?

A bank transaction receipt (also known as a bank receipt) is a standard form of documentation for most financial transactions. Customers who go to banks or other financial institutions to conduct any monetary transactions should expect to receive a bank receipt for these transactions. 

Besides transactions involving deposit accounts, these receipts are also sent to customers who make loan payments, credit card payments, and conduct other similar types of transactions. Bank transaction receipts are also given to businesses that conduct financial transactions at a given bank or financial institution. 

Banks also keep their own copies of bank transaction receipts. This ensures thorough record-keeping for all financial transactions for each of their various account holders. These receipts are also a form of collateral. If a customer makes a request, the bank will have a detailed record of the transaction to refer back to. Whether a bank employee makes an error or an account holder miscalculates a portion of the transaction, bank transaction receipts make it much easier to resolve disputes. 

In the past, bank transaction receipts were paper slips. However, in recent years, many banks have begun to offer digital copies of receipts (by email,  text message, or other methods). 

Using digital receipts rather than paper receipts enables the bank to save on printing costs. Digital receipts also provide convenience for account holders as they no longer have to keep track of numerous paper receipts. 

Bank transaction receipt details

A bank transaction receipt contains detailed information about a financial transaction conducted at a particular bank. The form of the receipt may vary by bank or institution, but all bank transaction receipts must include these essential details: 

  • Bank account numbers
  • Account holder name(s)
  • Date of transaction
  • The total amount of the transaction

Sometimes a bank transaction receipt will even include detailed information such as the employee number of the bank employee who conducted your transaction. 

How to use bank transaction receipts for bookkeeping

Given the importance of bank receipts to businesses, you can make use of these documents and turn them into a helpful tool for your bookkeeping practices, either for personal or business expenses. In fact, many banks and other financial institutions recommend balancing your account books on a monthly basis and referring to your bank transaction receipts throughout the process. It’s common to go over monthly bank statements and cross-check this information with all of your bank transaction receipts that you have collected for a given month. 

Even if you hire a professional accountant to track your personal or business finances, they will request a copy of your bank transaction receipts. Bookkeepers use this information to track your income, expenses, and other financial transactions impacting your cash flow. This financial data helps keep an accurate and real-time record of your financial activities. 

Bookkeepers also use bank transaction receipts for data entry purposes to track your credit card payments, which can help you control your spending. Bank transaction receipts can even help you improve your credit score over time with good bookkeeping practices

Some people prefer to use receipt tracking mobile apps that automatically track this information in real-time instead of working with an accountant. You’ll no longer have to keep a hard copy of your bank transaction receipts by using mobile apps, as this information is readily available on your mobile device. You only need to make sure that you store these physical copies of your bank receipts before uploading them into a cloud-based system. After scanning your documents with a versatile mobile app, you can free your desk and drawers from piles of paper receipts and keep them for years!

See more: 5 Best Receipt Scanner and Organizer Apps for Small Businesses in 2021.

How to use bank transaction receipts for taxes

Bank transaction receipts can be very beneficial when preparing for tax season. To work on the tax reduction process, first, you need to collect all proof of purchases for your business expenses. Next, you need to find the right tax form and fill in all the details. The last step is to submit the form and then you’re good to go. 

Business owners can use their bank transaction receipts to balance their accounts. You can do this by reviewing the monthly bank statement and comparing the amount and transaction dates of items listed on the statement with their bank receipts. 

Typically, businesses will keep their bank receipts until the end of the year for tax preparation purposes. Individuals who claim tax deductions for certain types of expenses must also keep copies of bank transaction receipts to prove that they qualify for deductions related to banking transactions, such as interest charges or mortgages.

The bottom line

Bank transaction receipts, along with business plans, marketing strategies, and financial reports, are essential documents for all businesses. Keeping and managing these documents properly can help track your business’s financial performance, solve disputes, keep the bookkeeping up to date and even claim tax deductions with ease. A simple yet effective way to achieve this is to digitally scan and store your important documents. 

Shoeboxed is a painless receipt-scanning and organizing solution for freelancers and small business owners. After scanning your receipts with the Shoeboxed app, our OCR engine will automatically extract the most important data points and automatically categorize them by vendor, total spent, date, and payment type. After that, our staff will double-check to ensure that all of your data is human-verified, categorized, organized, fully searchable, and available on any device. Shoeboxed keeps your bank transaction receipts in a safe place with high accessibility. 

See also: How To Scan A Receipt Digitally With The Shoeboxed App.

The Shoeboxed app is available on iOS and Android. You can try Shoeboxed for free before choosing the perfect plan for your purposes!

Understanding the IRS’s Tax Underpayment Penalty and How to Avoid It

Whether you are a freelance worker or an owner who earns money from your business, if you didn’t pay the estimated tax properly, you could end up paying an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax underpayment penalty. 

This article covers what can trigger a penalty and what you can do to avoid penalties in the future. 

What is a tax underpayment penalty and how does it work?

Though you only file one tax return each year, federal income tax is technically a pay-as-you-go system. You’re expected to pay tax on your income as you earn it throughout the year. Ordinarily, your employer does this for you through income tax withholding. However, if you are a freelancer, you must make your own tax payments throughout the year.

A tax underpayment penalty is a fine imposed by the IRS on individual or corporate taxpayers who don’t pay enough of their estimated taxes, don’t have enough withheld from their wages, or who pay late. The purpose of this penalty is to promote on-time and accurate estimated tax payments from taxpayers. 

The IRS may charge the tax underpayment penalty if you owe more than $1,000 in tax when you file your tax return. They may also apply this penalty if the payments you made add up to less than 90% of the tax you owe. For example, suppose that you owe $10,000 worth of tax on your 2020 tax return, but you only made $8,000 in estimated tax payments. In this case, since your tax payments only amounted to 80% of the tax due, the IRS could apply a penalty. 

The tax underpayment penalty isn’t a static percentage or flat dollar amount. Suppose the taxpayer realizes that they have underpaid taxes. In that case, they must then pay the difference plus a penalty calculated based on the remaining balance owed and how long the amount has been overdue. 

The failure-to-pay penalty that applies to tax underpayments is 0.5 percent of the amount owed for each month (or another time frame) the tax is not paid. This underpayment/failure-to-pay penalty won’t exceed 25% of the unpaid amount. 

Along with a penalty, tax underpayments (as well as overpayments) generate interest. The IRS sets the interest rate every quarter for most individual taxpayers, based on the federal short-term rate plus 3%.

The interest payment rates for Q4/2021 (announced on Aug. 25, 2021) are:

  • 3% for individual underpayments
  • 5% for large corporate underpayments (exceeding $100,000)

Exceptions for underpayment penalties

There are certain exceptions when the underpayment penalty doesn’t apply, which are: 

  • A taxpayer’s total tax liability (after withholdings and credits) is less than $1,000
  • The taxpayer paid a minimum of 90% of the total tax from the current year’s return or paid 100% of their tax liability from the previous year. (*See below for a more detailed note)
  • The taxpayer missed a required payment due to an unforeseen, uncommon, or noteworthy event (such as a casualty or disaster)
  • The taxpayer retired at age 62 or older during the prior or current tax year 
  • Estimated payments were unfulfilled because the taxpayer became disabled during the tax year or the preceding tax year
  • Any other situation in which the underpayment was due to a reasonable cause, not willful neglect. 

(*Note: In this case discussed in this second point, the rule changes a bit if your annual income increases. If your adjusted gross income for the current tax year exceeds $150,000 ($75,000 if married filing separately), you must pay 110% of your previous year’s tax liability.

However, those who don’t qualify for the above exceptions may still qualify for a reduced tax underpayment penalty in certain circumstances. For instance, individuals who change their tax filing status from “single” to “married filing jointly” may be eligible for a reduced penalty because of the higher standard deduction.

What you can do if you received a tax underpayment penalty

Generally, if you fail to pay a sufficient amount of your taxes owed throughout the year, the IRS can issue a tax underpayment penalty. However, suppose you have already paid enough and still receive a tax underpayment penalty. In that case, you may request to have it waived by showing a reasonable cause or proving that you were unable to calculate your estimated income. 

In some cases, you may successfully reduce or eliminate your tax underpayment penalty if the IRS provided you with incorrect information. For example, if you called the IRS to address a question and got the wrong advice from an IRS agent, you might succeed in avoiding a tax underpayment penalty. To be eligible for this, make sure you always note down the date and time of your call to the IRS as well as the name of the person you spoke to. If you encounter an agent who is hesitant to give you a firm answer to your question, try to be patient with them. Many agents are cautious to answer anything that could be regarded as tax advice for fear of misspeaking or giving you wrong information.

How to avoid tax underpayment penalties in the future?

No one likes ending up with a tax underpayment penalty, so here are some steps you can take to avoid this penalty in the future. 

1. Be aware of when your payments are due

For starters, adequately paying quarterly taxes by the dates shown below will help save you from incurring the underpayment penalty: 

  • Apr. 15
  • Jun. 15
  • Sept. 15
  • Jan. 15 of the following year

If a due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the payment is due the next business day.

2. Annualize your income

Generally, you don’t need to wait and pay all your tax liability at the end of the year. Especially if your income is unpredictable or seasonal, you may want to annualize your income, which basically means you will pay your tax payments based on a reasonable estimate of your income during each quarterly period. 

If you own a seasonal business and most of your annual earnings come from three consecutive months, annualizing your income can help you better estimate your tax payment. Calculating your estimated payments and making quarterly estimated payments can help you avoid the tax underpayment penalty. To use this method, you need to complete Form 2210 and attach it to your return.

For example, your business makes $30,000 per year, but all of that money comes in from June through September. When determining your estimated payments, take the $30,000 you expect to make and divide it by 12 months. This way, you can spread the amount of your estimated tax payments evenly across the year and make sure you don’t break the IRS’s pay-as-you-go rule.

3. Adjust your W-4 withholding

Generally, employers must withhold taxes from employees’ paychecks based on their earnings and employees’ information on their W-4s. If your employer isn’t withholding enough tax, you can make up the difference by revising your W-4 and requesting that they withhold more.

You can use the IRS withholding calculator to estimate how much your employer should withhold from your paychecks. Then fill out a new Form W-4, indicate how much you want to be withheld, and submit it to your employer. This can reduce or even eliminate the need for making estimated payments on your own.

The bottom line

To pay the right amount of your taxes owed throughout the years, you can ask your employer to withhold more from your paycheck. Otherwise, you can calculate and make your quarterly estimated tax payments if you’re a freelancer.

Submitting tax payments on time and filing paperwork can seem daunting, but it’s all part of developing a disciplined, well-organized documentation process. The Shoeboxed app can help your business stay efficient and organized!

Shoeboxed is a painless receipt-tracking and expense-managing app that helps get you ready for tax seasons. After scanning your receipts with the Shoeboxed app, you can create clear and comprehensive expense reports that include images of your receipts. You can then export, share or print all of the information you need for easy tax preparation or reimbursement, all within a few clicks. Shoeboxed ensures that the digital versions of your receipts are legibly scanned, clearly categorized, and accepted by both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Service in the event of an audit. 
The Shoeboxed app is available on iOS and Android. Try Shoeboxed for free and get yourself prepared for tax seasons!

What You Need to Know about Operating Cash Flow Ratio

If you’re running a business, make sure you’re analyzing your business health regularly. This lets you know how your business is doing and whether or not to adjust any strategies. Liquidity is one of the four areas of financial health along with solvency, profitability, and operating efficiency. Liquidity refers to how easily your business’ assets can be converted into cash.

But do you know how to calculate the liquidity of your business? It’s not complicated at all because all you need is the right tool. Today, we’ll introduce you to the operating cash flow ratio, a metric to gauge your company’s liquidity.

What is the operating cash flow ratio?

Operating cash flow ratio measures how well a business can pay off its current liabilities with the cash flow generated from its core business operations. As earnings can be manipulated by managing assets, this ratio is considered a more accurate measure of a company’s liquidity in the short term.

Because operating cash flow is related to the ability to pay off liabilities (debts and financial obligations of a business), the higher ratio, the better. A high number indicates that a company has generated more cash in a period than what is needed to pay off its current liabilities. On the other hand, a low number points out that there isn’t enough cash to cover its current liabilities. Therefore investors and analysts will have to call for more capital. 

Operating cash flow ratio equation

Understanding operating cash flow ratio components

Before we learn about the operating cash flow ratio formula, let’s have a quick tour of its components. 

Current liabilities

Current liabilities or short-term liabilities are debts that must be paid within a year and can be found on the balance sheet. These include:

  • Supplier payments
  • Short-term debt payments such as loans to the bank or credit union
  • Dividend payments to investors
  • Taxes charges

It’s an obligation of every business to pay off its current liabilities. To do so, set current liabilities against current assets. It’s a good sign if they balance each other. It’s even greater if your business’s current assets are more than enough to cover your current liabilities. On the other hand, if your business doesn’t have enough assets to make up for short-term liabilities, you could face financial trouble.

Operating cash flow

Operating cash flow reports inflows and outflows as a result of regular operating activities. It includes the money your company gains from ongoing activities, such as manufacturing and selling goods or providing a service to customers. However, it doesn’t cover any other funds within the business, such as capital expenditures or investments. 

Operating cash flow is calculated by deducting the business operating expenses from the total sales revenue. It shows business owners and operators the big picture concerning their business’ money flow, where funds are coming from, and going to. 

By looking at the cash flow from operating activities, you can determine the financial success of your business’s core activities. As a result, it greatly impacts the company’s liquidity. It allows you to plan out how to generate and maintain sufficient cash necessary for operational efficiency and other necessary needs.

The equation

Now that we know about two components associated with the operating cash flow ratio, it’s time to learn the equation.

Operating Cash Flow Ratio = Operating cash flow / Current Liabilities

As you can see, there’s nothing complex here, simply divide cash flow from operations by current liabilities, and you’ll have an answer. 

However, the preciseness of the equation lies in the accuracy of the numbers input. To make sure there’s no error in the amount of operating cash flow and current liabilities, your bookkeeper or accountant needs to keep and record all the payment receipts and sales proposals accordingly.

Isn’t it frustrating to go through that process manually when you’re living in the technological era? To be honest, there’s no benefit of doing things that way anymore because it takes up a lot of time. As a result, you’ll have to pay the price of working extra hours to cover other tasks that you don’t have enough time to finish. 

You can see it coming, aren’t you? No worries, you still have a chance to turn the table around by reaching for the help of a digital tool. A digital tool allows you to scan your paper into data, get them organized, and make a report easily. Shoeboxed can help you do all these things within an hour instead of days. Check out Shoeboxed now and find out how much time you could save! 

Example of the operating cash flow ratio

Imagine that Company A has a net cash flow from operations of $500,000 and a current liabilities of $120,000. Apply the formula and you’ll have:

500,000 / 120,000 = 4.17

This means that Company A earns $4.17 from operating activities per every $1 of current liabilities. Alternatively, it can be viewed as, “Company A can cover its current liabilities 4.17x over.”

The bottom line

Operating cash flow ratio provides you with a snapshot of your regular operating activities. By looking at this number, you can determine how sufficient your business is doing. Additionally, accessing the operating cash flow ratio to know your ability to pay off liabilities in a given period will keep your business out of trouble from financial litigation.