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I was wondering what some of the reasons may be why shop receipts are required by law.

What would happen if they were not required? What could some resulting problems be?

What do receipts facilitate, besides simply allowing the purchaser to see how much they've spent (some shop owners also keep their own copies of the receipts, why is this useful to them, and why is it that some do and some don't)?

Also, can all of this be avoided with smartphones, smart POS machines, and software system implementations?

Thank you for your answers.

Thanks.

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    Required? Here in Canada it's quite normal for many stores to ask if I want a receipt. If I say no thanks, none is printed. So "required by law" seems an overstatement. Commented May 12, 2023 at 0:48
  • @KateGregory I'm pretty certain that in Canada if you ask for a receipt - you must be given one.
    – littleadv
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 20:13

1 Answer 1

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Receipts are required for tracking and documentation. You give someone something - you get a receipt back to acknowledge it. It is useful in a wide variety of applications:

  • Proof of ownership/purchase - you leave the store with the item, how can you prove that you just paid for it?
  • Reimbursements - you bought something for someone else (your employer, for example), how do you prove how much you paid?
  • Taxes - you spent an amount you're deducting, how do you prove that you spent it, and spent it on what you're claiming?
  • Value Added Taxes - in many countries there are value added taxes (VAT), and showing how much you spent compared to your proceeds is critical to properly calculate VAT.
  • Sales Taxes - you need to show how much sales taxes you've collected, and that needs to agree with the documentation your purchasers have as to how much sales taxes they paid.
  • Audit - how do you ensure no-one steals from the register? How do you ensure no-one haggles with the cashier and pays different (more or less) amounts than the actual price?

Etc. Etc.

Receipts nowadays can be electronic/digital, not necessarily paper slips, but they're still necessary and required by laws (in some jurisdictions you can decline a receipt if you don't want/need it, but it still has to be offered to you).

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  • Also: Sone stores want the customer to demand the receipt (to the point of rewarding the customer and deducting the reward from the cashier's salary) because that guarantees the transaction went through the register and was recorded, removing the risk of employees stealing from the company by just pocketing the payment.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 13:24

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