Keeping and organizing receipts is one of those things that every small business must do but doesn’t want to. But we tell ourselves that sitting down to scan receipts for hours on end or entering data into an endless spreadsheet is what we need to do in order to make taxes manageable. The IRS needs to see documentation about your spending and purchases, so keeping these records is extremely important, even if there are better ways to scan and organize receipts. Below is some advice straight from the IRS about receipts and recordkeeping for taxes:
You probably already keep records in your daily routine. This includes keeping receipts for purchases and recording information in your checkbook. Keeping these and other records will help you avoid headaches at tax time. Good recordkeeping will help you remember the various transactions you made during the year, which in turn may make filing your return a less taxing experience.
Records help you document the deductions you’ve claimed on your return. You’ll need this documentation should the IRS select your return for examination. Normally, tax records should be kept for three years, but some documents — such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRA and business or rental property — should be kept longer.
In most cases, the IRS does not require you to keep records in any special manner. Generally speaking, however, you should keep any and all documents that may have an impact on your federal tax return:
Credit card and other receipts
Canceled, imaged or substitute checks or any other proof of payment
Any other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return
Good recordkeeping throughout the year saves you time and effort at tax time when organizing and completing your return. If you hire a paid professional to complete your return, the records you have kept will assist the preparer in quickly and accurately completing your return.
You don’t have to scan receipts yourself here at Shoeboxed. That much seems obvious at this point. We finally give you the option to get rid of the stress of scanning and organizing your receipts by just putting them in an envelope.
Some of our Mail-In users have asked a couple of questions about the best way to prep their documents for scanning, and I just wanted to go ahead and answer them on the blog. So here is a list of things to keep in mind before sending in your receipts to be scanned. These will allow your receipts to be scanned and uploaded into your account as quickly as possible.
Please flatten all receipts as best you can. Remember they are going through a scanner, so bundling them or wadding them is generally unwise.
Please tape any tears in your receipts. Torn receipts might not make it through our scanners correctly.
Please remove all staples and paper clips that may be attached to your receipts.
Please make sure that your envelope closes securely after you have put the receipts in. This make sure that it does not open or rip during the mailing process.
If you are a Receipt Mail-In Express user, you may separate your receipts into subcategories. We will then make sure that those categories remain. For Receipt Mail-In Basic and Receipt Mail-In Classic, your receipts will be processed as one batch only.
I hope this helps. If anyone has any other tips or tricks that you use to keep your receipts ready for scanning, let us know. We just want to be able to scan your receipts as quickly as possible!
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked with a bunch of people that were really convinced that they needed to start scanning all their receipts. I think the idea of having all your receipts all in one place in digital form is a really good idea. Check out our Why Scan Receipts page to get the whole argument for why this kind of data backup is critically important.
But scanning your own receipts is a commitment. It is not easy to scan hundreds of receipts a month by yourself. The average desktop or portable scanner is not designed to be a really fast way to scan a lot of receipts very quickly.
Keeping a New Year’s Resolution that you are going to scan in every paper receipt you ever get is really hard. Buying a new scanner or spending money on receipt organization software is kind of like buying gym equipment from an infomercial: the idea of achieving that goal (whether it be receipt organization or perfect abs) sounds great, but it requires a lot of work, and people often lose focus and commitment.
Say you start the year off by buying a $200 scanner, and then two weeks later you fall back into the daily grind that prevents you from having a few hours a week to scan in receipts. That’s not to hard to imagine. You are then stuck with a $200 loss, and the same pile of receipts that you started with.
What you need is something that can help you keep organized throughout the year. In my mind, the best way to accomplish your receipt scanning goals is to take away all the work. With Shoeboxed Receipt Mail-In, you can do just that. Just mail us your receipts, we’ll scan them in and upload them to your secure Shoeboxed account for you, and then we mail them back to you. You can access them anytime and organize them to your liking and needs.
If you know how to send a letter in the mail, you know how to get your receipts organized. You never have to touch a scanner with Receipt Mail-In.
Now if only we could find a solution that’s that simple for your abs…