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 Surviving an IRS tax audit without receipts

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 The essentials of surviving an IRS tax audit without receipts…

Need to understand the nitty-gritty of surviving an IRS tax audit without receipts? We’re here to help you. No one really looks forward to an IRS tax audit and fortunately, it doesn’t happen all the time. However, it still happens and you too might get audited.

Sometimes you may be selected randomly for an audit, and other times, you may be selected because certain activities regarding your tax compliance triggered it. If you’re about to face an IRS audit without receipts, you are allowed to panic a little. However, with the right help and knowledge, you can get through it and make the best of the situation.

We all know that one of the key ways to win your tax audit is by keeping clear and precise records and this includes receipts. It is not advisable to approach an IRS audit without receipts, but what happens if you get audited and don’t have receipts?

Regardless of how fidgety you feel, you should remember that you are not the first or only person to face an IRS audit without receipts.  People face an IRS audit with no receipts almost daily. In all of this, you should remember that the IRS audit fake receipts; therefore, you should never try to forge IRS receipts simply because you are considering methods of surviving an IRS audit without receipts.

So then, what happens if you get audited and don’t have receipts, or what if you lost receipts for audit?

I lost my receipts for my taxes, what now?

If you do not have receipts to accurately prove certain claims when you’re preparing your tax returns, don’t try to make guesses or estimates. Get your facts right by substantiating your business expenses by yourself. You can easily do this by making copies of receipts, and tracking your business purchases to request evidence of transactions.

Surviving an IRS tax audit without receipts is easier this way, it’s easier for you to defend yourself before the auditor and to ensure that every expense you claim on your tax return corresponds with your proof and you won’t be stuck or confused if you’re invited for an audit.

What happens if you get audited and don’t have receipts?

Tax audit no receipts? We know that it may be anxiety-inducing. Tax audits are already scary and unnerving on their own and adding the fact that you lack something as crucial as receipts can easily make everything worse.

What if you don t have receipts for IRS audit?

Keeping receipts for an IRS audit is extremely important; nevertheless, if you have lost your receipts for an IRS audit and are unable to recover them, there are still a few tricks that could help you survive your IRS audit. If you’re self-employed, the IRS makes provision for you to use other means to prove expense deductions. This will require that you supply evidence that you claimed valid business expense deductions during your tax filing process.

Here are a few other documents that can suffice in the absence of receipts:


This can be an alternative for receipts. This is simply a book or diary where you document individual transactions. Your logs can provide the IRS with dates and locations of travel, as well as the connected business purpose and mileage.

A log may also provide information on gambling winnings and losses, as well as dates and locations that these winnings or losses took place. You are at liberty to also prove job-hunting, or client sourcing activity and expenses as well. This makes surviving an IRS tax audit without receipts possible.

2. Theft or loss documents

If your receipts are missing due to theft (if someone broke into your house and did away with some of your vital documents or your computer crashed), providing a police or insurance report, pictures, or video evidence to show the damage done should be sufficient proof.

3. The Cohan Rule is on your side

The Cohan Rule comes from a famous court case Cohan v. Commissioner, 39 F.2d 540 (2d Cir. 1930). It basically says that the IRS must accept a portion of the taxpayer’s deduction even without proof. However, this may not honor your full expenses, as it does not mandate the IRS to do so.

Need more help with IRS audit representation? Call us now at 888-585-8629 or 617-430-4674 or send us an email at

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Internet subscribers, users, and online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant. Any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this website is not intended to be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties, of any kind, under U.S. federal tax laws.