Writing a receipt by hand might seem old-fashioned or even pretentious, but customers appreciate the fact that you took that extra effort to ensure that they have a record of their expenses. Even businesses with automated checkouts sometimes experience power outages and internet service failures. Instead of losing business, you can write a receipt for sale of goods by hand if you do not deal in large-volume purchases.
Providing accurate receipts has many benefits for your customers and you, the merchant. The practice protects your reputation as a merchant or service provider. The sales slip that you provide shows your customer that they received all the goods and services that they purchased, at the correct price. The receipt also documents that specific customer's preferences. Tracking customer preferences and buying patterns helps you track your inventory and plan restocks.
In addition to maintaining compliance with IRS and industry standards, providing accurate receipts also does the following:
- It protects your employees from false accusations of unfair or dishonest practices.
- The practice makes dispute resolution easier.
- Providing receipts helps establish warranty start and expiration dates.
For IRS purposes, every business expense payment receipt must include the day, month and year that the transaction took place, a list of all items bought or services provided and the total amount paid. Industry standards for businesses dictate that you also include your business name and contact information along with the payment method used, whether cash, check, money order, credit card or electronic funds transfer.
In many states, landlords must provide a rent receipt in writing if the tenant requests one, no matter what means of payment the tenant used. Some states only require receipts for purchases above a specific dollar amount. Even in a town that has no such legal requirements, however, best industry practice dictates that you provide a receipt for every transaction. A simple "Would you like your receipt?" meets any legal or industry obligation in those states that do not require you to provide them.
Proof of payment includes the original purchase receipt, canceled checks, bank statements and credit card statements. The transaction confirmation page or a confirmation email may also be proof of payment if it includes the date, a list of all the items or services purchased and the specific form of payment that was used to complete the purchase.
Whether you use a receipt template or not, follow these steps to write a compliant receipt:
- Write a receipt number in the upper right-hand corner of your receipt. To avoid giving a customer the same transaction number, start with the number 001 and go on from there. As long as you also include today's date, you can use those same numbers the next day.
- Write your company name and contact information in the top left corner. Include your business phone, fax, email address and website, along with your business hours. Not only will this information help the customer establish whether or not the purchase was a business expense, but the customer may pass your address and hours of operation to friends and family.
- Skip a line and begin listing all of the items purchased, along with a short description of each one, and ending with the item's purchase price at the far right.
- Provide a full-price total before you subtract any coupons. After that, take any discounts and provide the new total. Add sales tax. Add shipping and handling charges as well if this is not an in-store purchase.
- Finally, write the method of payment used and the customer's name on the last line of the receipt or wherever it says "received from." Give the customer one copy and keep the other one for your records.