My tax return is usually the last thing on my mind each year. I find myself scrounging for receipts, donation receipts, work-related expenses and all the other things that I need to put together my tax return each year.
I also tend to submit my tax return online at the *very* last minute as it takes me so long to set aside a day to hunt down all the receipts. So anything that makes my life easy is definitely a win. When I found Shoeboxed recently, the idea of shoving all my receipts, bills and other documents into an envelope and have them magically appear online for me to search, access and categorise sounded like a dream come true.
Although it has an unusual name, Shoeboxed takes all the receipts out of your “shoeboxes” and makes them accessible online. It has helped me streamline my tax return and I may just be on the way to a 100 percent paperless tax return.
A major benefit of Shoeboxed is that their scanned receipts are Australian Tax Office (ATO) accepted, so for those of you that are Australian and submit a tax return to the ATO each year, you only need to have the digital copies of your receipts in Shoeboxed. Once they have been scanned Shoeboxed will shred the receipts for you or mail them back to you.
For the first month I decided on the $99.95 Business plan which came with 500 “documents”. A document is anything that you mail in, scan and upload yourself (that you opt to have automagically processed) and snap and upload with the Shoeboxed mobile app. This was more than enough for me to clear out the last year of backlog and get a really good feel for the service.
Apart from relabelling the occasional receipt (some receipts for the same company were attributed to “Vendor” or “Vendor Australia”) I have to say I am really happy with the results.
I have also set up a forward that takes the document details and automatically uploads them into Evernote to enable extremely easy searching of all the receipts via another mechanism (and I treat this as a good backup).
After you mail in a series of receipts you will start to see them appear in your account classified including the category (which can be automatically or manually set), total amount, total tax, date and company/person that was paid.
As you can see from the image at the top of this post, there are numerous categorisations. The yellow categories are ones I added and assigned to a particular store or vendor. It will also tell you (where it is listed on the receipt) whether it was paid by cash, credit or debit card, cheque etc.
There are lots of other little features that I have yet to get my hands dirty with. I have dabbled a little bit in searching and sorting and uploading business cards as well (which is insanely easy from the mobile app). Support has been extremely helpful and have explained things to me when I ran into some early issues understanding how the email integration worked.
Why you would use Shoeboxed:
- You struggle to keep track of your receipts/invoices/bills throughout the year
- You want to save time saver by stuffing all your receipts into an envelope and have them ready to categorise, search and archive
- You run a small business and need what you could almost define as an online bookkeeper
- You would like to better prepare for audits
- You would like to share your receipts electronically with your accountant (Classic plan and higher)
Why you wouldn’t use Shoeboxed:
- Cost. You need to weigh the convenience against the price
- You prefer not to store your receipts and invoices online.
Two things I liked most:
- Setting up email rules on my mail account to automatically send monthly invoices from my online subscriptions straight into Shoeboxed
- Free envelopes for sending your receipts. New envelopes are posted out after the old one is received and processed.
Two things that I liked least:
- The user interface was a little confusing in the beginning. It took a while to understand where some things were.
- The FAQs seemed a little light on information when I ran into problems which required me to contact support – but the support was exceptional.
Tips for using Shoeboxed:
- Forward emails with receipts or invoices attached to your personal Shoeboxed email address for automatic processing. Email rules will take care of regular monthly invoices.
- If you sign up to the yearly plan you can get between 250 and 1000 “kick off” scans to help clear out your backlog as well as two months free. Shoeboxed also has a 30-day money back guarantee.
- If you take the Shoeboxed Classic or higher plan you will receive “magic envelopes” which are reply paid. This makes the whole process brainless and painless. (Note: your receipts will not be returned to you after scanning on the Shoeboxed Lite plan.)
- If you send, upload or email more documents than your quota for the month there will be overage charges (depending on your plan) therefore make sure you plan early and plan accordingly.