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Lost receipts to cost SMB owners $948m in unclaimed expenses


SMB owners are expected to miss out on claiming an estimated $948 million in unclaimed expenses due to damaged or lost receipts, research by Intuit QuickBooks reveals.

By Miranda Brownlee 11 minute read

Research commissioned by Intuit QuickBooks reveals many Aussie small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are feeling underprepared for tax time and experiencing “receipt regret”.

Lost and damaged receipts are expected to cost Aussie SMBs a potential $948 million in unclaimed expenses this financial year, according to the research.

Over half or 51 per cent of Australian SME owners admitted they had regretted not being more organised with their receipts throughout the year.


The research indicated that tax returns can be a laborious process for already time-poor business owners if the right management systems aren’t in place.

“Nearly 1 in 5 (19 per cent) SMB decision makers admit they feel anxious about doing their taxes this year, while 13 per cent are feeling overwhelmed,” the software firm said.

Only 36 per cent of SMBs said they felt prepared for tax season this year.

Almost half of SMBs admitted that their receipts have faded from the sun, while 42 per cent have misplaced or lost receipts during tax season. Almost one in four (24 per cent) said they have been unable to claim a business expense in the past due to paper receipts being illegible or damaged.

Damien Greathead, Intuit Australia, accounting and adviser group lead, said using technology to avoid receipts getting lost or damaged was more crucial than ever.

A third of the businesses surveyed want streamlined digital solutions such as receipt management and 29 per cent want more reliable storage methods to help improve efficiency at tax time.

The research revealed that time spent preparing for the end of financial year tax adds stress for SMBs, with nearly 1 in 4 (23 per cent) saying it affects their overall work-life balance.

A quarter (25 per cent) said they spend about 10 hours preparing for their tax return, while 13 per cent spend 15 hours or more. Surprisingly, 2 in 5 (40 per cent) SMBs reported taking on the task themselves by completing their tax return without the help of an expert adviser.

Greathead said it is concerning to hear that so many SMBs are experiencing this level of stress at tax time.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but so many small business owners are time poor and burdened by admin tasks that impact their work life balance,” Greathead said.

Greathead said working with a tax adviser and using technology to streamline the capture of business expenses in real time can make a huge difference to keeping on top of business administration and managing stress.


Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee


Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.

Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

You can email Miranda
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