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Always in the last place you look

Apparently, an ancient 2000 year old receipt was discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) along the City of David’s Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem.

When I first saw this headline I had to laugh out loud because all I could think of was how much trouble this dude is in with his wife. I lose receipts all the time and at my house it starts a Holy War. I cannot imagine how this is gonna go down at this guy’s house when he comes home 2000 years later and says, “Honey, I found it. I TOLD you it was either in my jeans or on the road to Jerusalem!”

A small fragment of a stone tablet was found with the name "Shimon" inscribed in Hebrew, reportedly accompanied by lines of letters and numbers suggesting a financial record was taken and indicating that money was involved in a transaction.

It really is a big deal to think that people were using receipts just like us to prove transactions had taken place and were keeping records just like we do. I find history to be amazing and I am also encouraged to think that I am not the only one that loses receipts.

According to researchers, the inscription was carved using a sharp tool on a chalkstone slab which I would think makes a receipt a lot harder to lose when it weighs a couple of pounds.

The historic receipt was found in the lower city along the Pilgrimage Road, roughly one third of a mile in length and connecting the city gate from the south of the City of David to the Temple Mount.

The Pilgrimage Road, which is continually being uncovered in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem, is a flagship project of the Israel Antiquities Authority so they are bound to find more receipts I would think.

A receipt is considered a document and should be treated as such. I am horrible at keeping receipts and since I travel a lot, my wife is constantly trying to find new ways for me to hold onto them. I tried putting them in my wallet but found myself sitting at an angle halfway through trips, she has bought me little Tupperware boxes that I eventually lose under my luggage in the back of the truck, we have tried bank bags but that is never convenient as I don’t want to leave a bank bag in the front seat when I travel. I just really have found no system that works.

So, as I began to write this blog this morning, guess what happens? My wife comes to me looking for a receipt from my last trip. My search took over 30 minutes and it was, of course, in the last place I looked. It was in my laundry bag.

No wonder she is angry. It could have stayed there for 2000 years and been found by some archeologist.

A receipt is a written proof that a seller received monetary compensation in exchange for a product or service provided to the buyer/customer. Without the business receipt and the information it contains, there is no official record of the shift in ownership following a purchase, or a request for a refund or exchange. Nor is there clear-cut evidence of how much has been or still needs to be paid, in the event that the fee is to be transferred over in installments.

Namely, receipts protect both the buyer, the seller, and their business against uncalled-for recourse. They inject much-needed transparency into the transaction.

In the arena in which we work and operate, life moves fast sometimes, sometimes so fast that receipts get wadded up and thrown into the glove compartment, but to be honest, we need to do better than that and I am hereby resolving to try harder.

Maintaining a record of your small business’ activities is critical to your company or agency’s survival and success. Your boss demands accountability, the IRS wants to know where it all went, and receipts can really be useful in planning the next venture as you can refer back to the last effort financially.

Business receipts serve as the foundation for your financial statement and tax return preparation. They’re the little initial investments that save you and your small business big time in the long run. So, if you want to remain in the IRS’s good books, start keeping receipts!

Should you save receipts from your personal purchases as well? Of course! The receipts you are presented with after purchasing a product, like a new pair of boots, or contracting a professional’s services, are your ticket to a hassle-free refund or exchange. They are the only proof-of-purchase many companies accept when you want to cash in on a warranty. Receipts can also be used by some companies for price-matching purposes. Furthermore, they will help you figure out your tax deductions when “that time of year” rolls around once again.

Keeping receipts helps. It’s just that simple. To truly maximize the benefits of your business receipts, you must go one step further and track them. Doing so will provide you with even more advantages such as the ability to make the most of the expenses you claim. It will also help you identify if you are liable for paying taxes, so you can pay the exact tax payments you are required to make -and not a penny more or less. It can even reduce your tax obligations. Saving business receipts will also promote greater efficiency and transparency with respect to your account and report preparation at the end of each quarter or year.

I have asked my wife what the big deal is. Why do I have to save every little receipt for every little thing? She says I don’t, but she has been clear which ones I should you save to comply with the IRS.

If you don’t have someone like my wife doing your books, then sit with your tax people. Ask which receipts you can throw out and which ones you should be keeping. If you like to use your phone for everything, then scan your receipts with an app and store them so you don’t end up with piles of “toilet paper” in a desk drawer. Learn which receipts are to be kept short-term and which ones should end up in that long-term show box.

Do you own your own business? Anything related to unreimbursed work-related transactions, self-employment expenditures, donations, and even childcare and medical expenses, can be used for tax deduction purposes. Be sure to hold onto all business expense receipts for seven years (or 2000 if you like) in case you’re audited.

One thing I know is that you cannot go back 2000 years and claim additional deductions just because you have made a major discovery.

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