Electronic Receipts Can Simplify Record Keeping

Family child care providers must save receipts for their business.

But saving receipts is no fun.  You can forget to ask for them. You can lose them.  They can fade by the end of the year and now you can’t read what is on them!

There must be a better way.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry about any of this and could retrieve all of your receipts at the end of the year?

What if you could simply identify the stores where you purchased items for your business and go online (or return to the store) and get a copy of every receipt for the past year? You could then use these receipts to identify which items you bought for your business and deduct them on your tax return. And this receipt would protect you if you ever got audited.

At some stores this is now a reality.

I recently contacted some companies to find out their policy on generating receipts at the end of a year.

Lowes: If you enroll in their MyLowes program you can get an electronic receipt for any current purchase. You can also go online and get a record of all receipts for the past year from any Lowes store. If you use your own credit card, you can get a list of your receipts if you visit the individual store where you purchase the items.

Home Depot/Office Max: You can use any credit card and go online to get your receipts for the past 24 months. If you purchased items by check, you can get the receipt by visiting the store where you bought the item.

Walmart: You must go to each store and ask for previous receipts.

Target: You can get “proof of purchase” records (a copy of your receipt) if you have the date of purchase (check your monthly credit card statements) and identify the store where you purchased it.

I haven’t checked with other companies, but there may be others that offer similar services.

If you are someone who doesn’t have all your receipts, I recommend you contact the stores where you bought a lot of items and see if you can get copies of your receipts. It can save you a lot of time and money!

Even if a store can’t give you all your past receipts, it may be able to give you electronic receipts for future purchases.  Having electronic receipts makes them harder to lose and they won’t fade. Download receipts onto a flash drive periodically and put the flash drive in a safe deposit box for at least three years.

I predict that in the near future, it will be much easier to get receipts for all past purchases at all major stores. Technology is moving fast enough for this to happen quickly.

Have you had experiences with other stores where you have been successful or not in getting copies of receipts?

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Tom Copeland

I've been the nation's leading trainer, author, and advocate on the business of family child care since 1981. I'm a licensed attorney and have presented hundreds of business workshops for family child care providers across the country. I answer thousands of calls and emails each year to help providers, tax professionals and trainers understand complex business and tax issues. Call me at 651-280-5991. Email me at tomcopeland@live.com. Visit me on Facebook. From 1981 to 2009 I worked at Resources for Child Caring in Minnesota (now called Think Small), where I was director of Redleaf National Institute for 15 years. I've written nine books on the business of family child care published by Redleaf Press, a division of Resources for Child Caring. I was on the board of directors of First Children's Finance, a non-profit organization providing low interest loans and consulting and technical assistance to help family child care providers suceed as a business. They operate in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. Here are some YouTube videos of me talking about my work with this organization and the business of family child care. I graduated from Macalester College (BA) in 1972 and from William Mitchell College of Law (JD) in 1980. I live in St. Paul, Minnesota with my wife Diane and two cats, Duke and Ella.