March 21, 2012 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Question about proper saving of e-mail and web receipts in case of an IRS audit.

This question is about items that I carry as business expenses on my 1040 Schedule C (sole proprietorship).

1. You go to a brick and mortar store, you get a paper receipt. That's easy enough. But I make tons of electronic purchases. Many times these are sent only as an e-mail, such as from web hosting companies and small-time sellers. For example, we use Endicia to print postage; I don't see formal receipts on their website but I do receive detailed e-mail confirmations of my purchases, and their website lets me print from a list of transactions (Paypal style). But that's about it; I don't see any way to print a traditional receipt. Now assume I am audited. What does the auditor need to see exactly when it comes to purchases such as this?

2. I am diligent about saving receipts, but I know there's probably a few missing. The expenses, however, would definitely show up on my credit card statements, all of which I do have. Would an accountant consider credit card statements acceptable in lieu of a receipt? For most of these, the payee name is very businesslike or is a payee that I have other receipts for showing my legitimate spending patterns.

I recognize you are not my accountant or attorney. Thanks.
posted by crapmatic to Work & Money (3 answers total)
Then you'd print out the invoice/sales confirmation. What makes you think it could or should be any more complicated than this?
posted by imagineerit at 2:56 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

What makes you think it could or should be any more complicated than this?

That's what I'm trying to find out. What if it's just a payment confirmation that doesn't specify what was purchased? My Endicia e-mail confirmations just indicate $XX.XX charge to my card, and the date; it doesn't specify what was purchased. For all anyone knows, that could have been a six pack of beer instead of postage.
posted by crapmatic at 3:27 PM on March 21, 2012

Disappointed with the lack of replies, but I had a flash of inspiration and figured out a great search term for anyone else who has a similar question:
Google: paperless+receipts+audit

I think that will be enough to put me on the right path to getting my records organized properly.
posted by crapmatic at 1:18 PM on March 22, 2012

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