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Offline Josh  
#1 Posted : 25 September 2014 13:12:46(UTC)

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In a world where everything is going online and "paperless" how do HMRC deal with this is other advisers experience?

Has anyone provided copy receipts, bank statements, invoices etc. to HMRC in a download form during a tax enquiry?

I my experience the VAT sections of HMRC and more senior sections of HMRC enquiries such as COP9 sections etc are ok with at least some client records being provided via email or electronically.

I attended a QuickBooks Online event this week and there was a demo of the "Receipt Bank" app for optically reading information from receipts (a train ticket was shown as an example) and it read the supplier "First Great Western Trains", the date, amount etc straight from the receipt and stored the receipt electronically.

QuickBooks own app for QuickBooks online scans expense receipts and copies them to your cloud accounting records although you manually assign the supplier, date, amount, expense account etc via the app on your phone, tablet or computer.

All good and efficient BUT...

HMRC are always around 10 years behind the rest of the world so what if you need to send in all your receipts bank statements etc to HMRC during a tax enquiry and you only have online or "paperless" copies.

The danger is that clients will be more likely to fail to store the original expense receipt safely because as far as they are concerned there is proof in the cloud.

And increasing suppliers only give electronic (non paper) receipts (such as emails and PDF invoices).

"I'll print later it if I get asked" I here many of not most people using the cloud say.

What print a year or anything up to 20 years of receipts, banks statements etc. etc. Wow that would be expensive and very time consuming!

Because HMRC cannot accept or deal with accounting records provided as a download or on a flash drive etc. in the event of a tax enquiry? Reprinting these records later is a potential nightmare scenario! (at present)plus these are copies not original receipts which HMRC may not like much as more open to forging?

Does HMRC Accept Paperless Receipts Electronically?

Does anyone know what plans or arrangements HMRC are making to accept receipts, bank statements as scanned copies by download on or flash drive? Until HMRC can cope with clients operating "paperless offices" it seems a risky way of storing your records and paper originals, neatly filed, in case HMRC asked for them seems the safer option (and cheaper option!).

Thoughts and comments on this welcome!

p.s. I recommended to QuickBooks staff at the even that scanned copies of expense receipts should be stored in a structured way (maybe year and month) to make giving access to HMRC to cloud stored receipts easy ready for when HMRC can cope with cloud accounting and records storage and making batches of receipts for a period easier to find?

Or is this realistically 20 years away for HMRC?

After all why do most small businesses prepare accounts at all?

For may it is to calculate their tax bill and sort their tax return, so who is the person they need to be prepared for requests for documentation from?

The tax man...
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