August 22, 2008

Shoeboxed – The Receipt-O-Matic


The problem with receipts is…well, the receipts. Little slips of paper are so easy to lose, mismanage, or accidentally toss into the trash can with a gum wrapper. Still, organizing them is a part of life for many of us. When tax time rolls around, we’re scrambling to find those little slips of paper for itemized tax returns. They’re stuffed in a dresser drawer, in purses, briefcases, manila folders packed so full that papers are coming out the sides. The receipts are crumpled, faded, barely legible. Then it’s time to photocopy them, organize them, and maybe tape them to sheets of paper for filing before sending them off to the tax man. Still, receipt piles continue to build, and there are plenty to contend with before next April.

Shoeboxed is an online application and service provider that can help you keep these little slips of paper together for tax time, expense reports, or to keep track of spending. After scanning your receipts (or mailing them to shoeboxed to be scanned if you have a premium account), you can file them into different online “shoeboxes” for safekeeping. You can also sort them by date, store, or amount. Shoeboxed gives graphs of spending trends and allows you to easily export information to Microsoft Excel or Quicken. The program will even generate an expense report for you. In addition, Shoeboxed makes online shopping handier by giving you a special online shopping email address. If you use this address online, your receipts will be sent automatically to Shoeboxed, instead of your email inbox.

Will all this really help with taxes, though? Well, it turns out that the IRS has been accepting digital receipts since 1997, as long as the scanned receipts follow certain guidelines – guidelines that Shoeboxed has made sure that their receipts meet. So once you’ve entered your receipts into Shoeboxed, you can recycle them or keep them stuffed into the real shoeboxes in your closet – whichever you prefer.

Practical Uses:

  • Collect receipts for tax itemization in one easy, secure place
  • Keep records of receipts you submit for expense reports
  • Use Shoeboxed to keep careful records of expenses for reconciliation of your credit card statement or checkbook
  • Keep track of personal purchases in the event you need to file an insurance claim
  • Access receipts for product recalls or store returns

Insider Tips:

  • If you’re a certified accountant, Shoeboxed will give you a special discount for premium services
  • Premium service (starting at $9.95/month) allows you to mail your receipts to Shoeboxed and have them do the scanning for you
  • The Shoeboxed blog (yes, a blog about receipts) offers some surprisingly interesting, witty, and useful information about the world of receipts

What we liked:

  • “Shoeboxes” make it easy to categorize receipts and differentiate between work and personal expenses
  • Shoeboxed has rigorous privacy policies. They’ve been reviewed but TRUSTe, a nonprofit ensuring that companies have fair and safe privacy practices and are recommended by privacy organizations like ID Theft Protection. Shoeboxed uses the same type of encryption that major bank websites use to keep your data safe.
  • If you need to call Shoeboxed for help, real people will answer the phone

What we didn’t like:

  • We could not find anything we didn’t like


  • There are no comparable applications at this time.

Company Info:

  • Launched: July 2007
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Durham, NC
  • Founded by Taylor Mingos
  • Web site:


  • Basic plan is free
  • Premium services, which offer mail-in scanning services, are $9.95 (basic), $19.95 (classic), and $59.95 (express) per month

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