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Receipts law and proof of purchase: What you need to know

by Meagan Wood, Senior Marketing Manager, Advisor Segment

2 min read

Online, cash, EFTPOS, PayPass – there are so many ways for customers to buy our products and services. For a small business owner, this makes understanding your responsibilities around receipts or proof of purchase increasingly complex.

By law, you need to give a customer a receipt or proof of purchase for anything valued $75 or over. Proof of purchase can take the form of a tax invoice, cash register printout, or handwritten receipt, and is usually delivered at the time of purchase.

Greater choice in the digital age

The advent of e-commerce and its exponential growth means that, today, there are many more ways to provide proof of purchase than a physical receipt.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) lists other types of proof of purchase as:

  • A reference number for phone or internet payments
  • A warranty card showing the supplier’s or manufacturer’s details, and the date or amount of the purchase
  • A serial or production number linked with a purchase on a database
  • A copy or photograph of the receipt

Get it right now to avoid confusion later

Issuing a receipt doesn’t need to be complicated, but it’s important to include all the information the customer may deem relevant. This is necessary in case you need to provide a refund, repairs, or maintenance somewhere down the track.

Any receipt or proof of purchase you provide to customers must include:

  • Your business name and ABN
  • The date you supplied the goods or service
  • Details of the product or service, and the price

Additionally, you are obliged to provide an itemised bill or account if your customer requests one. Under such a scenario, the customer has 30 days to lodge the request and you then have seven days to provide the invoice free of charge.

The itemised account needs to show how you worked out the price, and it must include a breakdown of the hours of labour (with price per hour) and materials involved. A customer can then use that itemised receipt to ask for a refund, repairs, or replacement at some time in the future.

By keeping accurate records of all your customer transactions, you will not only avoid or reduce the severity of any future disputes, you will also know exactly which jobs you are devoting your labour and materials to. It will also provide a clear and concise picture of how business performance is tracking, while simultaneously reducing the amount of work you might otherwise need to do around tax time.

For more information, or if you are unclear about your responsibilities as a small business owner, visit the ACCC website.

To read more about how to run your business, check out these helpful resources.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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