Meaning of Receipts

The term documents is an umbrella term and this describes:

  • Bills,
  • Receipts,
  • Receipts and
  • other evidence of business expense or income.

A receipt is evidence of a specific event in the company, usually income or expenditure. But there are also inventory lists or removal documents that are also valid as documents. A withdrawal receipt must be created, for example, when money is withdrawn from the company’s cash register.

All receipts are always important!

A receipt is always the basis for a booking in the bookkeeping and is proof or proof that the records are correct. For this reason, there is a statutory retention period of 10 years for documents in Germany.


Receipts are not only subject to a retention requirement , but also to other regulations and guidelines .

Especially in the digital age, the demands on entrepreneurs are constantly increasing.

According to ETAIZHOU.INFO, a receipt is required to make a booking in the accounting department. If there is no receipt, it is possible to create a so-called own receipt.

What must receipts contain?

Receipts can be very different and the requirements for them are just as different. Therefore, the question of what a receipt must contain cannot be answered across the board. It is logical, for example, that an inventory list must contain different information than a receipt. But the most important evidence is the invoice and there are certain things that have to be considered here.

This information must be included on every receipt:

  • A text that explains the business transaction
  • The amount or quantities and values
  • The date of the business event
  • The signature of the exhibitor

The external document

There are also differences between the external and internal documents. The external receipt, which is also referred to as an external receipt, is issued by suppliers, for example, and documents the payment transactions. The external documents include, for example:

  • Incoming invoices
  • Incoming credits
  • Receipts
  • Bank statements
  • Checks
  • Commercial letters
  • Tax bills

The internal receipt / own receipt

The company issues the internal receipts, which are also known as own receipts. These can include, for example:

  • Copies of receipts
  • Withdrawal receipts
  • Outgoing invoices
  • Outgoing credits
  • Payrolls
  • Receipts about cancellations and rebooking
  • Emissary commercial letters

Receipts in accounting

In summary, this means that the documents are necessary to record the business transactions in the accounting. For the evidential value of correct bookkeeping, the principle is: “No booking without receipt”! For this reason, all receipts and their storage must be designed in such a way that the bookkeeping can be traced even by a competent third party (e.g. an auditor) within a very short time.

If, during a tax audit, it is found that bookings have been made without the corresponding receipts – which also applies to receipts that are no longer available – then the tax office is permitted not to recognize the expenses, and this then leads to an increase in profit. In the worst case, the tax office can even declare the entire bookkeeping void, which then leads to an estimate of the profit.

Furthermore, there can be negative consequences for sales tax. If the receipts are incorrect or completely missing, this can lead to the input tax deduction being denied.

It is important that the documents clearly show the services provided by the company and that they can also be clearly understood.

In addition, there are further content-related requirements from the Value Added Tax Act:

  • Every receipt must be mathematically correct
  • Receipts must be signed by an ID card holder
  • The receipts are to be numbered consecutively in the accounting department and filed in a seamless sequence
  • It is helpful if the account assignments ( account assignments ) are noted directly on each individual document
  • A receipt can consist of several parts, e.g. an invoice with attachments (freight papers, delivery notes, etc.).

Of course, it can also be just a single receipt, such as a receipt.

IMPORTANT! If receipts are sent over the Internet or sent by email, they must have a qualified electronic signature! Otherwise the input tax deduction will not be granted!

The receipts must be posted in a timely manner (Section 239 (2) HGB). Only then can it be guaranteed that the documented business transactions are posted without gaps. For this reason, a receipt should be posted immediately, if the circumstances permit. This procedure also ensures that every business transaction is presented as it actually occurred.


  • You cannot work in accounting without receipts
  • The mandatory principle applies: no booking without receipt
  • Bills and bank statements are the most important supporting documents
  • In principle, you are not allowed to create any receipts yourself – your own receipts are only permitted in exceptional cases
  • Receipts may not be passed on and failure to comply will result in an administrative offense


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