I know invoices can be accepted electronically, usually through scanning. But I have a low-tech vendor who can't scan his invoices, so he took pictures of them and emailed those. Is this acceptable to the IRS?

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Yes, what you describe is an imaged record, even if it’s rather a low-tech version. The IRS accepts imaged records; the requirements are about how the records, including images, are stored, protected and able to be made available. You have to guarantee controls to ensure integrity, accuracy and reliability, prevent unauthorized alteration, and that the records can be indexed and remain available and reproducible.

On The Accounts Payable Network see IRS Revenue Procedure 97-22: Guidance for Electronic Records. It provides the guidance on acceptable records for the IRS.

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