A system for organizing and storing business receipts is vital for a number of reasons. Good organization enhances financial controls, simplifies income tax preparations and meets the Internal Revenue Service “burden of proof” requirement for tax return entries and deductions. As a general guideline, plan on keeping receipts When deciding both which receipts to keep and how long to keep them, follow IRS record-keeping guidelines and keep any receipt that supports an item of income or a tax deduction for as long as you keep the associated tax return, which most often is three to seven years.
Manual vs. Digital Storage
There is no IRS requirement for organizing supporting documents other than to keep them accessible at all times for inspection. Although you can store receipts using a manual filing system, receipts tend to fade over time. For this reason, a digital storage system -- and a good backup plan -- in which you scan or take a photo of a paper receipt or transfer an email receipt to its appropriate folder for storage, might be a better choice.
Keep and store canceled checks, cash register receipts, credit card slips, invoices, account statements and petty cash slips. A good way to organize receipts is by year and the type of expense. Create a master file using the year as the file label. Within the master file, create, label and arrange folders in alphabetical order according to the type of expense. Examples include expenses such as office supplies, equipment, vehicle maintenance, travel and entertainment expenses, and petty cash.