What Happens If You Get Audited And Don't Have Receipts?

  • John A. Osborne
  • Feb 06, 2023
Small Business Insurance Delaware

There is no doubt that an IRS audit can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience. One of the most important aspects of an audit is providing documentation to support your claimed deductions and expenses. Receipts are a vital part of this documentation, as they serve as proof of purchases and expenses. But what if you don’t have your receipts? What happens if you get audited and don’t have the necessary documentation to support your claims?

In this article, we will explore the potential consequences of being audited without receipts and what you can do to protect yourself.

The Importance of Receipts in an Audit

Receipts are crucial in an audit because they provide evidence of the expenses you’ve claimed on your tax return. When you file your taxes, you’re essentially making a declaration that the information you’ve provided is accurate and truthful. The IRS will audit your tax return to verify that your claims are supported by adequate documentation. If you don’t have receipts for your expenses, the IRS may assume that you’re making fraudulent claims.

The IRS requires taxpayers to keep a record of all transactions and expenses related to their tax return. This includes receipts, canceled checks, and other proof of payment. Without this documentation, it’s difficult to prove that you actually incurred the expenses you’ve claimed.

Consequences of Not Having Receipts

If you’re audited by the IRS and don’t have receipts to support your claims, you may face several consequences:

  • Additional taxes owed: If the IRS determines that you’ve claimed expenses that you cannot prove, they may disallow those expenses, which could result in additional taxes owed. This can be a significant financial burden, especially if you’ve claimed a large amount of expenses.
  • Penalties and interest: In addition to owing additional taxes, you may also be subject to penalties and interest on the unpaid taxes. These can add up quickly and make an already stressful situation even more challenging.
  • Audit red flags: Failing to provide receipts for your expenses can also raise red flags with the IRS. This could increase the likelihood of future audits or scrutiny of your tax returns.

What You Can Do If You Don’t Have Receipts

If you’re facing an audit and don’t have receipts for your expenses, there are still several things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Bank and credit card statements: If you used a bank account or credit card to make the purchase, you may be able to use bank or credit card statements as proof of payment.
  • Canceled checks: If you wrote a check to pay for the expense, a copy of the canceled check can serve as proof of payment.
  • Invoices and contracts: If you don’t have a receipt, an invoice or contract for the expense may be acceptable documentation if it includes the date, amount, and description of the expense.
  • Sworn statement: If you’re unable to provide any documentation to support your claims, you may be able to provide a sworn statement or affidavit affirming that the expenses were legitimate and incurred during the tax year in question.


In conclusion, having receipts to support your claims on your tax return is vital, as it provides evidence of the expenses you’ve claimed. If you don’t have receipts and are audited by the IRS, you may face additional taxes owed, penalties and interest, and audit red flags. However, there are still several options available to you if you don’t have receipts, including using bank and credit card statements, canceled checks, invoices and contracts, or providing a sworn statement.