How much detail is required for expense receipts?

Question: I am responsible for processing check requests for payment. Sometimes, though, people don’t save detailed receipts to back up their expenses.

What resources out there can help clarify what the IRS expects employers to keep for record retention in regard to travel & meeting reimbursements for employees? Also, are there penalties if the employee cannot provide detailed receipts? — Anonymous


We changed our reimbursement policy to state that in order to be reimbursed, itemized receipts must be submitted. If not, the item is not reimbursed. We will not pay off a non-itemized credit card receipt. Sure solved all our problems! I very rarely receive any expenses without detailed receipts now.

At my company, anything that you don’t have a receipt for doesn’t get reimbursed. After a few times, they will definitely save their receipts!

We have also changed our policy to read no expense will be reimbursed without a receipt. We also have time frames for expenses to be submitted and a schedule as to how they are paid. This keeps everyone on there toes.

Yes, I’d say “no receipt, no reimbursement” but I’d phase in this policy gradually, so they have time to mend their habits and won’t be so resentful. Blaming the IRS requirements is also a good tactic, since everyone knows you can’t argue with them!

Our policy at work is no receipt no reimbursement no exceptions. If an employee is using the company credit card and they did not supply the receipt to match the CC bill they are responsible for the payment. Very rarely do I have anyone who does not bring in their receipts.

It’s simple: no receipt, no reimbursement, no exceptions. Prior to my coming here there was no policy and expense reports came in with/without receipts and usually several weeks after the trip. I started out by having a ‘expense report training’ session, explaining the entire process for reimbursements. Many employees simply did not know the proper way to submit expense reports. This cleared up any questions and let everyone know that if they want money back they submit on time and with all receipts attached. I have not had anyone not get it right the first time. Believe me when it comes to their money they will be more than willing to do it right. And if they don’t submit with all receipts simply return the paperwork with a note telling them what is missing with a deadline for re-submission.

We allow expenses under $25 to be reimbursed without a receipt. For example: a snack purchased from a vending machine, or tolls.