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Question added to topic MoneyDecember 23, 2010

Does the IRS accept scanned receipts for tax write-offs?

If so, can I destroy the original receipts?
You sure can scan your receipts and throw away the originals. Most taxpayers don't realize it but the IRS has actually accepted scanned receipts as far back as 1997.

The rule that supports scanned receipts is called Revenue Proclamation 97-22. The rule states that scanned receipts are acceptable as long as they are identical to the originals and contain all of the accurate information that are included in the original receipts.

It is important though to have the scanned copies organized in a readily available manner in case of an IRS audit. Specifically, you must be able to index, store, preserve, retrieve and reproduce the records. This means that you should be able to produce a hard copy if requested by the IRS.

I would strongly suggest to move forward with only retaining scanned receipts as it saves space and conserves paper. However, make sure that you properly store and backup the data should you have a corrupt hard drive or some other issue preventing you from accessing the original data.

It would be wise to purchase an external hard-drive or flash memory card since they are inexpensive and protect you in case you need a backup.

Ryan Himmel, CPA and registered securities analyst, is the founder and CEO of BIDaWIZ.com, a professional network for small businesses and entrepreneurs to obtain trusted advice and services from a team of CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Financial Planners & Tax Attorneys.  His team provides answers to the many finance and tax questions that small businesses encounter every day. Ryan has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fox Business and Crain's New York, among other publications. Ryan also regularly contributes to the community with his finance and tax blog.

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