How to Write a Receipt For Retail Purchases and Donations

how to write a receiptNowadays most people opt out of getting their receipt when the cashier asks them. It’s just another piece of paper laying around that eventually ends up in the trash. With online banking, receipts are becoming obsolete. For some of us, however, it’s critical that we keep these in a tacky folder somewhere for tax write-offs and company records. So what happens if your receipt machine breaks down and you are left with – gasp – a paper and pen? No sweat, follow the easy guide below and have a written receipt in the hand of the customer, and in your records, in no time. Take a refresher course on bookkeeping, you know, just to make sure you’re keeping your financial house in order.

For Purchases

Running a business can be overwhelming, actually it is overwhelming. The last thing you need to hear is something broke or decided to stop working. With a revolving door of customers who all seem to need their receipts (what is it, Murphy’s Law?) you are reduced to your trusty pad of paper. If you’re lucky, you’ve got a back-up receipt book on hand ready to roll – if you didn’t think this would ever happen, here’s what to do.

*Note: make a copy for yourself for your records, or use carbon copy paper to save your hand a cramp and your customer time. Hopefully you already do this for accounting purposes. If you need a little guidance with accounting, take this introduction to financial accounting course.

1. Make sure the name of your business is at the top of your “receipt”. If you have a stamp with your company name and address – use that, if you don’t, just write it in.

2. Include the date! Don’t forget this in case the customer decides to return your item and you have a time-sensitive return policy.

3. Write down the name of each item the customer purchased. This is called itemizing and your machine usually does it for you. List each item on a separate line and include the quantity and price of each item. You can write the quantity in parenthesis beside the name of the item or before the item like this: Denim Jeans (2); or, 2 / Denim Jeans. Write the price to the far right so you keep those numbers isolated for easy calculating. If you want, you can add the total of each line up before moving on to the next, or you can write the second purchase of the same item on the next line. An example may look like:

 

Denim Jeans (2)                29.95

                                              29.95

Skinny Jeans                    27.95

 

Or

 

2 Denim Jeans                  59.90

Skinny Jeans                   27.95

 

 

4. After you are sure you’ve included all of the items that were purchased you can sub-total the cost. Skip a line between the last item on the list and the line in which you put the sub-total. It just makes it clearer to read.

 

Denim Jeans (2)                29.95

                                             29.95

Skinny Jeans                   27.95

Blouse                             19.95

Purse                             13.95

 

Subtotal                    $121.75

 

5. Apply any discounts or coupons that need to be applied. If your customer brings in a 20% off coupon of the total purchase order, you’ll need to take 20% off after you apply taxes. At least this is what the majority of stores do. For in-store discounts, a lot of stores choose to apply the discount before they apply taxes. Again, this is just the majority, so you’ll need to know what policies your store has in place. Let’s follow the majority and apply a 20% off-the-total-purchase coupon to this order. Pull out your calculator and multiply the entire order by .20, which is equivalent to 20%. So, $121.75 x .20 = $24.35. Now subtract this answer from the total to take off the 20%. The total of this order is now $97.40.

 

Denim Jeans (2)                29.95

29.95

Skinny Jeans                   27.95

Blouse                             19.95

Purse                             13.95

 

Subtotal                         $121.75

20% off coupon            -24.35

New Subtotal             $97.40

6. Now is the time to calculate taxes on the order. Taxes vary in each city and state so it’s up to you to know your current tax rate and apply it to the total purchase. Let’s say the tax rate is 8.75%. Multiply the new subtotal by the tax rate, .0875 which is 8.75%. So, $97.40 x .0875 = $8.52. Now add this to your new subtotal for the total of $105.52. Learn how to find the sales tax rate before and after your purchase in this article.

 

Denim Jeans (2)                29.95

                                              29.95

Skinny Jeans                   27.95

Blouse                             19.95

Purse                             13.95

 

Subtotal                         $121.75

20% off coupon                 -24.35

New Subtotal                  $97.40

Taxes@ 8.75%              $8.52

  TOTAL                               $105.52

 

7. Indicate what tender the customer used to pay: cash, check, credit card or gift card. If the customer pays with cash, just write cash in the amount of and the amount of cash they gave you. Then write the amount of change received. If they used a check, make sure to document the check number on the receipt. With a credit card, just write what type of card (AMEX, MC, VISA, DISCOVER) and the last four digits of their card for your records. Check out the course Small Biz Doer’s for Small Accounting to learn how to revamp your financial records for easy tracking and interpretation.

8. Initial the receipt so you remember a month from now that you wrote it and its official if they come back in for a return or replacement item.

For Donations

Donations are a lot easier and as such this will only be a three step process. Lucky you.

1. Write the name of the organization, the address and the 501(c)3 tax identification number at the top of your receipt. If you are not legally a tax-deductible organization, don’t include any federal identification number, and remind your customer that their donation is a gift and does not qualify for a tax write-off.

2. Write the date.

3. Write the amount the donor is gifting to the organization or cause. If the donor is purchasing items as a way of donating, use the above retail recipe for filling out a receipt sans the tax and discount. Total it up and note the how the donor is donating (cash, credit card, or check).

4. Sign the receipt.

Again, make sure you are keeping a copy of this for your records. There is some great accounting software floating around out there that can make keeping these records easy and accessible. Learn about cloud accounting in the course Xero to Hero.