In our household, I’m the keeper of all receipts, statements, and other documentation needed for organizing and filing our taxes.
In early 2013, as we prepared to hit the road as full-time RVers, I realized that we didn’t have room to take all of our tax documentation for three full tax years plus the current year. It was time to go paperless.
I had a scanner. What I didn’t have was time to scan everything myself and file it digitally in a way that would make it easy to find files later. That’s when I remembered Shoeboxed.
Shoeboxed offers scanning and secure online storage of receipts and documents (including business cards) with a powerful search capability. This is a company that has been around quite some time now. I’ve known about it for years and always meant to try it out, but…well, you know how it goes.
Anyway, I signed myself up for the Executive Plan which allowed me to submit up to 1,000 documents a month. They sent prepaid mailing envelopes and I stuffed those envelopes to the max. Within a day of receipt, my documents were scanned and categorized in my account.
(Before I go any further, I should point out that in the event of an audit, the IRS does accept digitized receipts. Did you know that?)
I don’t have a need to use the mailers any more. Now what I do is either use the Shoeboxed app to snap a photo of receipts with my phone, or if it’s an online receipt, I just forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it gets scanned right into my account.
There’s another feature that I actually forgot about, but it’s pretty cool. All members get a special email address that you can use when ordering from online stores. When you use that email address, Shoeboxed will automatically organize your receipts for you as well as all of those store emails that would otherwise be clogging up your inbox. Also, with some plans, you get unlimited access to tax and financial advice through 1800Accountant.
So what’s all this got to do with organizing for tax time? I mentioned that Shoeboxed puts receipts into categories. Because I take a business deduction for a home office, I needed to know the total amount we paid for utilities in 2013. I just searched for Utility Bills from 1/1/2013 to 12/31/2013 and there they all were in my account. I just added them up and logged out. If the IRS ever needs to see these bills or any receipts for that matter, I’ll just wave my magic Shoeboxed wand and make them reappear.
I also just uploaded a bunch of receipts from a business trip and was able to export them to a PDF expense form with images of the receipts attached to send to my client for reimbursement. In addition to receipts, you can save documents (this is where I save my bank and credit card statements) and business cards which you can then export to your contact records management system.
As you can tell, I’m a fan of Shoeboxed. Is it right for YOU? Well, you won’t know unless you give it a whirl. They offer a 30-day free trial which is how I got started. PLUS, right now, you can get a 20% discount off your first three months when you sign up by April 15, 2014.
(Full disclosure: If you sign up, I may get a little “thank you” bonus from Shoeboxed for introducing you to this service. But just so you know, I would recommend Shoeboxed whether I got paid or not.)