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Thread: How do you organize digitally scanned receipts for record of home renovations/etc?

  1. #16
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    I'm curious how many people actually get audited based on a ~$30K increase in basis on their home for home improvements. Has it ever happened to you or to anyone you know? I know that I've never heard of anyone being questioned on such a thing.

    It's only in an audit situation where you might be asked to produce actual receipts, even then, do you know of anyone who underwent an audit where producing a list of expenditures was insufficient? Even with a receipt, how do you prove that that box of screws from the HD was employed for an "improvement" rather than a non-eligible repair?
    Last edited by roger wiegand; 05-25-2020 at 8:18 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    Brian, I think you're an IT pro so you know about proprietary file formats and abandonware. The archival version of pdf would seem pretty future proof, not sure how to index it.
    I am planning to scan in as PDF. I am trying to find something to help me track them although it might be good enough to put them into folders by different categories and maybe by year.

  3. #18
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    I haven't been through an audit for a house sale, or know anybody who has been, but I have been through a sales/use tax audit. I have no idea if just a list of of expenditures would have sufficed for that audit, but I doubt it unless sales tax was listed. I had all my receipts for purchases so I was able to show where sales tax was paid as part of the purchase.

    It just makes sense to me to keep all the receipts (or digitized version) although a list might be a good thing so I can keep a running total instead of having to add up hundreds of receipts at sale time.

  4. #19
    I haven't kept up with real estate tax law but my recollection is that after a certain age capital gains tax does not apply to personal residential property. Also, if memory serves, selling the existing property and buying a more expensive one negates CG tax on the original residence.

    As I said, I haven't kept up with this so check before taking my word.
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  5. #20
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    My old Canon multi-function printer has a flat bed and auto feed scanner on it. Rather than let things build up to where there is a mountain of stuff to do (ugh!), I scan them as I go. Many receipts are still printed on thermal paper and do not last very long. It is easy enough to scan them into sub-folders under a project-name folder or whatever sort of 'tree' works best for you. Once you have a shoe box of stuff to deal with, a combination of drudgery and fortitude are the only way to plow through that I know of. Good Luck.

    P.s. It seems that dad picked up a flat bed scanner only for under $100 a couple of years back. The lack of an auto-feed makes for a lot of handling. Once you get your base established adding a receipt of two now and again is not a big deal.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Null View Post
    I haven't kept up with real estate tax law but my recollection is that after a certain age capital gains tax does not apply to personal residential property. Also, if memory serves, selling the existing property and buying a more expensive one negates CG tax on the original residence.

    As I said, I haven't kept up with this so check before taking my word.
    The capital gain exemption on a personal residence is $250K for single and $500K married filing jointly. So for the vast majority of Americans it's a non-issue because they will not hit or exceed the exemption limit. But the OP is looking long term, and it makes very good sense to keep records so you have them if you need them.

    Note, there may be state or local tax applicable depending on your jurisdiction.

    I am under the impression that most good sheetfeed and flatbed scanners come with bundled software that should do what you want (auto size, scan to pdf, scan directly to your designated location on your network or pc). From there you can organize however you like. You should be able to find a good solution for under $300 in less time than it took you to write the original post. Brother, Epson, HP all offer good solutions.

  7. #22
    I think those of you advocating for scanners haven't yet appreciated how antiquated those have become (already) with the advent of cell phone cameras. Snap a crooked picture, the software automatically detects the edges of the page, crops to fit, OCRs the text, and saves to PDF. Done faster than the scanner could have fed the document.

  8. #23
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    I already have a scanner. I am trying to figure out a way to organize my receipts after I scan them all in. I have only had my scanner for about two years and most of the receipts are from before then. I am getting sick of having a mountain of paper that is always in my way.

    I'll have to try some of the smartphone scanner apps. I just figured it would be hard to scan with a phone than an actual scanner. I know the mobile app for my credit union now takes the photo of the check automatically.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    I think those of you advocating for scanners haven't yet appreciated how antiquated those have become (already) with the advent of cell phone cameras. Snap a crooked picture, the software automatically detects the edges of the page, crops to fit, OCRs the text, and saves to PDF. Done faster than the scanner could have fed the document.
    Dan,
    I agree with you if you are talking about a receipt when you are out and about at Store/restaurant ABC.....but my phone , while it does all you say when doing a simple receipt or two, it does not solve doing multiple sheets, maybe front and back in a timely, efficient manner. I use my phone with Neat app for all individual receipts when I am out and about. I use it to scan and deposit a check to my bank. It's good for all of that. BUT, when I receive several documents from Health Insurance or Doctor visit or HVAC Contract or or VA documents or Social Security, or Etc, Etc. These are quite often multiple pages/front and back. It is much more efficient, IMHO, to scan them in at one time using a scanner(either home printer/scanner to App specific scanner-Neat) . 2 sided often makes the most sense.
    Just my $.02
    Jim

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Elfert View Post
    I already have a scanner. I am trying to figure out a way to organize my receipts after I scan them all in. I have only had my scanner for about two years and most of the receipts are from before then. I am getting sick of having a mountain of paper that is always in my way.

    I'll have to try some of the smartphone scanner apps. I just figured it would be hard to scan with a phone than an actual scanner. I know the mobile app for my credit union now takes the photo of the check automatically.
    Is there some reason just setting up folders in your PC will not work for you? Like a folder called Renovation, and subfolders under that for maybe Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC, Cabinetry and Millwork, and whatever else. If you've done multiple renovations, then create one folder for each renovation project, named by year or type. Then scan each receipt to it's logical destination folder using whatever file naming convention makes sense to you. Your file tree and contents can be dropped to a USB flash drive, written to CD or stored in the cloud and shared with anyone without needing proprietary software.

    It seems you have a lot of receipts. You have a scanner. You have a computer that you know how to use. What exactly is it that you're trying to figure out?
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 05-25-2020 at 9:53 PM.

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