My company recently implemented Concur for T&E. We have it set up to automatically feed credit card info into the employee accounts, but we also require original expense receipts. Is this necessary? Does the IRS allow the credit card data as "receipts?"

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From an IRS tax deduction perspective, for some expenses it might be necessary to continue requiring that employees submit receipt images along with their expense reports.

If the card data feed provides all the required “documentary evidence” required by the IRS, then there is no need for you to require the receipts. For all expenses $75 or above and all hotel expenses, the IRS requires they be substantiated by documentary evidence, which can be a receipt, but can also include a canceled check, an invoice, or another document that states the amount, date, place and essential character of the expense, including the credit card statement.
 
IRS Publication 463 outlines what is adequate documentary evidence in common expense situations, such as hotels and restaurants (see “What Are Adequate Records”). For hotels, your documentary evidence must include:
 
• The name and location of the hotel;
• The dates the employee stayed there;
• Separate amounts for charges such as lodging, meals and telephone calls.

The third point is the reason hotel receipts are often required; if your Level III data includes a breakout of the charges, then the hotel receipt would not be necessary, but if even the Level III only lists the hotel and summary charges rather than detailed charges, you would still need the receipt.

For restaurants, documentary evidence must include:
 
• The number of people served (which might be provided outside of the card data feed);
• The date and amount of the expense;
• If a charge is made for items other than food and beverages, it must show that this is the case.
 
Where your feed does not provide this level of data, you should continue to require receipts on expenses above $75. But if the card feed includes the requisite data, then you do not need the receipts.  We encourage you to seek the advice of your tax advisors who know your specific situations and what information you receive on your card reports.

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