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Does HMRC Accept Digital Receipts?

Well, the short answer is YES! but with a few exceptions:

Holding onto bulky Paper Receipts

Are you still keeping paper copies of receipts? Well, nothing wrong with that, but there are far easier ways of capturing and storing receipts.

These are called expense management solutions or expense reporting software, which deliver more and more value as they evolve and as technology becomes available and easier to leverage.

Software is typically mobile ready, as today, many use Mobile-First Design which is the better way to approach online product development. One reason is that the use of mobile devices overtook desktop computers in 2017, with 56% of the internet traffic coming from mobile, compared to 44% from desktop.

Mobile expenses provides all staff with a fast and easy way to store receipts digitally, which is to use the camera to snap and forget. This not only automatically stores a digitally copy of the receipt, but it can generate the expense details ready to submit, saving more time and even more convenience, helping change behavior for the better.

Capture Expense uses a cutting-edge Receipt Assist Service which combines AI, Machine Learning with OCR to deliver a 98% accuracy when taking a photo and uploading it to our solution, the data extraction happens in real-time in less then 3 seconds. This accuracy % is not possible with OCR alone which delivers typically around 75% of the time.

So, HMRC will, and do, accept scanned copies or photos of receipts and there’s no better way to, not only manage receipts, but automate the process using a simple cloud-based solution.

There are only a few exceptions

Any documents that have Tax (that is not Vat) must be kept in their original form, one of the most common example is an end-of-year bank interest document, supporting your Tax return and understanding is there’s any gain or loss.

These type of documents must been kept in their original form regardless of whether you receive a paper copy or an electronic copy as PDF. What it means is you can’t store a different format or version such as an image.

Don’t forget the back of the receipt!

Remember, if there’s information on the back of the receipt then you must save both sides, easy enough to take 2 photos, but make sure the software does allow you to save more then 1 receipts per expense.

Storing Digital Receipts

If you are moving to digital receipts make sure the storage server has sufficient redundancy (backup routine, frequency and failover) ask for information about how the data and images are stored and accessed. Its important to have a fully auditable system, with each stage of the process, from raising to approving an expense report. HMRC will require you to retain these records for a number of years, so you should be confident that they’re backed up securely.

Expense Management Solutions

With more and more options offering what looks to be similar functionality, how do you choose? Remember, not all systems are created equal, regardless of what some websites say. We can help by providing a report and a check list of items to consider when buying expense software for your organisation. I will say that if you’re based in the UK then its still far more advantageous to choose a UK supplier who will best support you with a local data centre, UK banking integration, HMRC compliance and UK regulations as standard.

Capture Expense provides a leading product and as a company we’re always happy to discuss all your options, not simply from the our own software perspective. Some of our consultants have 20 years experience in the industry and we’re always happy to discuss technology and finance more generally.

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one expense at a time.

Experience the power of our all-in-one platform and say farewell to spreadsheets! Save valuable time and money with effortless automation for reimbursements, vehicle mileage, and credit card reconciliation.

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