The term “tax receipt”, also known as “gross receipt”, strikes fear and frustration every time tax season comes around.
You know how it goes.
Tax return time ends, and, as usual, it went badly.
Days spent trying to organize your tax receipts. Trying to come up with the perfect Outlook or Gmail search query to find relevant tax receipts. But knowing it will never capture everything, so you’re left manually searching through a year’s worth of a bloated inbox. All just to complete your tax return on time.
You promise yourself that “this year I’ll do better.” You’ll carefully save every receipt as it comes in…who are you kidding? Like a New Year’s resolution, it only works for a few weeks. Then work, and life gets in the way.
You miss one receipt. Then another.
And soon, you’re back to square one.
Thankfully, today there are several apps designed to make tax season a breeze.
What are tax receipt management apps?
Apps that help organize tax receipts allow you to photograph and/or scan paper receipts so you have digital copies. These copies are easier and safer to manage. Some apps have OCR (Optical Character Recognition), which extracts the text and numbers of the receipt without you having to type anything.
Another management app feature, such as the core feature of WellyBox, gives you the ability to retrieve receipts sent via email automatically. You can then transfer them to your digital storage or accounting apps such as FreshBooks and QuickBooks.
Why should I download a tax receipt app?
The best app to organize tax receipts will save you a lot of time and hassle for tax filing time. Paper receipts will get lost, trying to arrange them will take up a lot of precious time, and holding onto them for years (as you have to do in most countries) may see them fade and become hard to read.
The 5 Best Tax Receipt Apps for 2021 Tax Season
QuickBooks is a comprehensive accounting software solution offering everything from expense tracking to receipt scanning. You can even create financial and expense reports.
If you’re already a QuickBooks user, you may wish to supplement it with an app like WellyBox. WellyBox can scan emails and pull them into QuickBooks, as this functionality is missing.
If you aren’t a QuickBooks user, and you are more focused on capturing your receipts for tax time, then this accounting program may be overkill for your situation. For those who fear it may be too complicated, they offer a 30-day free trial to test it out.
QuickBooks has a wide range of plans to cover every accounting need. It isn’t the most budget-friendly solution (the most affordable tier is $25 per month) on the market, so you should really be using the many accounting features to make it worthwhile.
Price: Simple Start ($25 p/m), Essentials ($40 p/m), Plus ($70 p/m), Advanced ($150 p/m)
Platform: Web, Desktop App, Android, iOS
Much like QuickBooks, Xero is less of a receipt scanning app and more like a full accounting and bookkeeping software suite. Xero was designed to help small to medium-sized businesses manage their cash flow.
It has advanced features to help you spend less time manually managing complicated tasks. Tasks like batch payments to suppliers and invoice processing.
Xero also has a receipt scanner, which will digitize your (or your team’s receipts) with a simple snap from your mobile device. You can also email receipts to the app; however they will need to be manually added.
Xero is not cheap, but you’re getting a lot for your money. Perfect for a small business operation looking for bookkeeping help.
Price: Starter ($20 p/m), Standard ($30 p/m) and Premium ($40 p/m)
Platform: Web, Android, iOS
Expensify was created for travelers on the go who wanted a quick and easy way to capture receipts and expenses. Users don’t have to worry about losing paper receipts on a train from France anymore.
Like other receipt scanning apps on this list, Expensify can scan a receipt and automatically digitize the details. You can also forward emails with receipts attached to add them to the mobile app.
There are two functions of the app – Track and Submit. ‘Track’ offers up to 25 free smart scans per month. After that, you’ll be paying $4.99 every month. ‘Submit’ offers everything in Track but will also let you set up receipt submissions – including automated submissions.
As with other products on this list, the app integrates with accounting software such as Xero, Sage, and Netsuite.
One word of caution, users are complaining about GDPR violations, due to marketing emails that users did not opt-in for — the biggest concern being over a political email sent out by the CEO.
Price: Free (up to 25 scans) and $4.99 options
Platform: Web, Android, iOS
Evernote – Receipt
Evernote probably needs no introduction. It is one of the most popular note-taking apps online – although that sells it short, the app does so much more than that. While it wasn’t created as a tax tool, it is very versatile on its own. Today it now has a Receipts add-on that was developed to help with expense reporting.
If you’re already an Evernote user, it will be effortless to use the tool’s photograph and scanning capabilities to quickly scan receipts into an easier digital form. With a bit of setting up, you can also forward and sort your email receipts. Do so by using Evernote’s forwarding email, your account name, and a hashtag like #tax with the email.
Price: Basic (free), Premium ($7.99), and Business ($14.99 p/m)
Platform: Web, Desktop App, Android, iOS
If you feel that submitting your taxes is a pain, then WellyBox provides the quickest pain relief on the market. In just minutes, you can set up WellyBox’s secure web integration with your email software of choice, and it will automatically identify and capture all your receipts and invoices.
To better separate business and personal receipts, you can set up quick and easy rules to filter future emails accordingly.
WellyBox’s powerful integrations with QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more ensure that your tax receipts get where you need them with no hassle or fuss. And a quick overview of your expenses helps you stay on top of your business expenses at a glance.
WellyBox also provides receipt scanning for paper tax receipts, so no matter how you’re receiving your receipts, you’re covered.
WellyBox has a basic version that is free for life. Both the paid tiers (Freelance and Business) offer 30 day free trials to test out all of the features.
Price: Basic (free), Freelancer ($6 p/m), Business ($15 p/m)
Platform: Web browser
Frequently Asked Tax Receipt Questions
What is the best way to store tax receipts?
Write key information on a paper receipt such as what the business purpose was. Then scan the receipt using an app such as WellyBox or take a digital photo and save it to a local drive. We also suggest you also save to a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Evernote.
What is the best way to organize receipts for taxes?
Arrange your receipts into folders named after relevant personal and business categories. You can do this with paper folders, but even if you chose to go with the old-school approach, having a digital backup copy will still be a good way to avoid disaster. Digitally, creating folders or tagging is as easy as a few taps or clicks in most apps.
How long do I have to keep tax receipts?
The answer will depend on where in the world, you submit your claims. But in the U.S, it’s considered appropriate to keep hold of your receipts and other tax documents for at least three years after the submission date. There are scenarios where you would have to keep hold of these documents for even longer. We advise the self-employed and small business owners to visit this IRS page to learn more.
Instead of a tax receipt, can I use a bank or credit card statement?
Once again, it may depend on your location but in most countries, including the United States, a statement will NOT be an acceptable substitute for a receipt. The IRS needs to review the itemized billing that a receipt provides, and which a statement does not.
We get it – tax prep is not anyone’s idea of a fun time. But properly managing your business receipts will ensure less frustration and panic when tax time comes around. It will also help you to avoid problems with tax authorities over time!
The best tax app for organizing receipts will help you and your business stay on top of your returns, reduce paper clutter, and help keep your peace of mind!