Tax Day Celebration (or Commiseration?) – NeatReceipts Review

April 15 is one week away. Have you filed your taxes yet? I’ll admit that I have not. We’re paying this year, and I’m putting it off until almost the last minute. I’ll probably file over the weekend and mail payment on Monday.

One of the hardest parts about being self-employed and doing my own taxes is categorizing all my receipts at tax time. So far my filing system includes a folder on my computer and a file folder in my filing cabinet. When tax time rolls around, I pile the receipts in different categories and enter the info in my tax program.

It would be a lot easier if I kept things categorized throughout the year, but I hate dealing with the bulky scanner in the other room, and I don’t want to add any more file folders to my already huge filing system.

Enter NeatReceipts. I’ve been wanting to review this product for a while now. It seemed like it would be a great solution for keeping track of tax deductible receipts. When I was contacted by the NeatReceipts company about giving away their product, I jumped at the chance to review it. Did it live up to my expectations? Read to find out!

The NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner

I reviewed the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner, which is designed to be…well…mobile. At 10.8”W x 1.6”D x 1.3”H and 10.6 oz., it’s certainly portable. It would easily fit in any laptop bag. Included in the package were the scanner, an installation CD, a USB cord, a quick start guide, calibration paper, dry cleaning paper, and alcohol cleaning paper. The Neat Mobile Scanner comes in Mac and PC versions. I tested the PC version.

The quick start guide and installation CD were easy to follow, so setup was a snap. I appreciated the little sticker placed right across the USB connection port, warning me to stop and run the installation CD before connecting the scanner to my computer. As someone who sometimes skips ahead of the directions (or doesn’t read them at all), it probably saved me a headache.

Installation took me about 10 minutes, only because I didn’t turn my antivirus completely off before beginning. Once I turned it completely off, as stated in the instructions, it took about 30 seconds. The instructions also remind you to turn your antivirus protection back on, so you don’t leave your computer unprotected for long.

The NeatReceipts Process

Once I had the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner set up, I was ready to begin scanning. Upon opening the program, I was given the option to watch a short introductory video. Having learned from my mistake of not following the directions, when it came to turning off my antivirus program, I opted to watch the short video. It was very clear and informative. Once I knew what I was doing, I felt comfortable trying to scan a few documents.

The scanner is set up to scan documents that are up to 8.5” wide. I scanned a couple of receipts, a business card, and a document, which I inadvertently scanned upside down. The NeatReceipts software categorized all three types of documents into the correct categories: receipts, business cards, and documents.

The software also correctly imported the information on the receipts and business card. Plus, it correctly oriented the document I had scanned upside down.

Once scanned in, it was easy to categorize my receipts into folders to keep track of my expenses. When categorizing, the NeatWorks software makes it easy to choose categories from Schedule C, so when tax time rolls around, your receipts are already neatly split into the correct categories.

There are many different options for importing and exporting data. NeatReceipts works with .XLS (Microsoft Excel), .RTF(Word), .OFX(Outlook), .QIF (Quicken), .TXF (Turbo Tax), .IIF(Quickbooks), .CSV, HTML, and Plaxo formats. Plus you can create quarterly or end of the year tax reports from within the software. And if you want to scan something into a PDF file, saved directly to your hard drive, you can do that too.

You can also search your receipts. I tried a couple of searches, and it pulled up the correct receipts every time. That’s I feature I personally would find very useful.

My Opinion

I’m kind of a techno-geek, so I thought the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner was really cool.

The Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Small and portable
  • Reads the info on receipts, so you don’t have to type in the info
  • Intuitive organization system

The Cons:

  • One more piece of equipment to keep track of

Overall, I can see where the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner would be very useful for the self-employed person. Especially if that person travels a lot. It would be nice to be able to scan in receipts while on the road, rather than dealing with a big pile of receipts when I get home.

I only tested it for a short time, but during that time, I didn’t have any computer or technical problems.

If I traveled more, I’d be tempted to buy myself a NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner. But since I’m frugal and don’t travel that often, I really can’t justify the expense as a necessary one. I wouldn’t mind receiving one as a gift, though.

Disclosure: I was provided a review unit of the NeatReceipts scanner, which I will need to send back to the company. All opinions are my own.



Author

By , on Apr 8, 2010
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{93 Comments}

  1. Tracey:

    I am my husband’s “secretary” as he calls me and I’m in charge of all his financial paperwork – challenging to say the least! This scanner would save SO MUCH TIME and make things so much easier at tax time.

  2. AngelSong:

    offhand, I can think of several ways I could use the NeatReceipts Scanner. I have a file box full of business cards that we use all the time to contact local businesses. They could easily be scanned in. I like the idea of having them in a file on my desktop.

    I could also use it to scan documents such as the ones associated with the purchase of our home, as a backup to he hard copies.

    I could use it to more easily track expenses for our budget. Scanning store receipts would be very handy.

    I like the portability! This is a very helpful review, Lynnae. Thanks!

  3. Michelle:

    I would love to have one of these! Between medical receipts, business receipts, and miscellaneous receipts for budgeting, I feel like I’m overrun with scraps of paper. And with the thermo paper that lots of stores use now, I’ve noticed that a lot of my receipts are faded and practically unreadable in less than a year.

  4. cherie:

    that is one cool gadget – it would be great for keeping track of expenses and make budgeting so much easier!

  5. Kari:

    Oooh, I’ve always wanted one of those scanners! It’s unbelieveable how much room 7 years worth of receipts takes up in my files. I just haven’t been able to justify the cost of purchasing one yet.

  6. Nora:

    Oh!!! I have been eyeing one of these for a while now… I would love to be able to have all my receipts in one place!! The idea that the scanner is portable is wonderful, as I could take the scanner and reciepts with and scan while I am anywhere!!!

    Thank you!

  7. Carid:

    This would be so helpful to both me and my husband! It would be great to scan the documents and save them on the pc instead of having a file cabinet with papers which the ink eventually fade out on. We could use the extra room in the house too.

    thanks so much!

  8. I think this could definitely cut down on all the filing I have laying around the tiny office area of my home. I could just scan any documents I feel I need to save and then recycle or shred the originals. And this is so small, it wouldn’t be hard to find room for it!

  9. Laurie C:

    We go through the same pain at tax time – Eric’s unemployed and I can’t even begin to tell you how taxing it is to do our taxes LOL – he’s just got a big box near his desk that he dumps everything into. It’s a disaster! Having this gadget would probably get us MORE money back at tax time!

    I’ve looked at these and *yikes* trying to buy a house just doesn’t put room in the budget for this.

  10. I generally keep all my receipts every month so I can use them when I balance my checkbook. This results in a ton of receipts scattered around my desk…which would be made much easier if I could just can them into the computer and stick them in Quicken. It looks like an awesome little gadget and I would love to have one to simplify my life.

  11. We track ALL of our receipts for personal budget tracking. This would save so much time!

  12. Jan:

    My husband is consultant and is always traveling. He needs his receipts to get his expenses reimbursed and he loses half of them. If he had something like this, he could just toss it into his laptop bag and scan the receipts each night.

  13. Margie:

    I tend to save all credit card receipts for a year and this would be a huge space saver! I also have a habit of tearing articles out of magazines and I could use this to get that clutter under control.

  14. M Moore:

    Definitely budgeting, but maybe for some items that are warrantied for a long time.

  15. Rebecca Sparks:

    Honestly, I just need a scanner to cut down on the paper I feel obligated to keep.

  16. Zoie:

    I would use the scanner for my budget, which doesn’t work too well. So any help is great.

  17. Juliana:

    My husband and I work for the same company, and need to be better at turning in reimbursements. This would help a lot!

  18. Emily Lauren:

    I think it would be great to keep track of all the little papers I get for personal purchases. I’d love to go paper-free at home, and this would be a big help.

  19. We have a very good habit of keeping receipts for purchases that have warranties and those that we may need to return. Currently they are all stored in a small box but that box is getting full and unorganized. It would be great to be able to scan them, save them online and have them neatly organized by category. Plus, the less paper, the less to loose.

  20. Liz:

    This would be great for my parents who own a farm. It would make it much easier for my mother to have everything ready for the CPA.

  21. Linz:

    We have a rental house that we have to keep receipts separate for when we do repairs or buy supplies for it. I’ve noticed that some receipts fade or become black for some reason making them illegible after 6 months or so. NeatReceipts would be the perfect solution to this problem!

  22. Andrea:

    A friend of mine is a freelancer and I do her accounting and taxes. She never remembers to scan in her receipts and they are all fading away to a blank slip of paper. I would use this to help her scan in her receipts so she actually has support for all of those expenses she’s taken deductions for on her taxes! :)

  23. Heather Tucker:

    I am good for having little pieces of paper EVERYWHERE! My wallet is full of assorted receipts that I keep meaning to file or put away…but, I am so disorganized I make the Collyer brothers look good! Nice little gadget, and even though it’s one more thing to keep track of, it would mean less little scraps of paper everywhere!

  24. My company accountant wants to kill me because I lose receipts all the time.

  25. I can’t tell you how many receipts I’ve lost! This is a fabulous idea. I think it’s great because it’s helping you keep your receipts but not clutter!

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