A receipt is a written acknowledgment that a person has received money or property in payment following a sale or other transfer of goods or provision of a service. All receipt must have the date of purchase on them. If the recipient of the payment is legally required to collect sales tax or Value-added tax from the customer, the amount would be added to the receipt and the collection would be deemed to have been on behalf of the relevant tax authority. In many countries, a retailer is required to include the sales tax or VAT in the displayed price of goods sold, from which the tax amount would be calculated at point of sale and remitted to the tax authorities in due course. Similarly, amounts may be deducted from amounts payable, as in the case of wage withholding taxes. On the other hand, tips or other gratuities given by a customer, for example in a restaurant, would not form part of the payment amount or appear on the receipt.
In some countries, it is obligatory for a business to provide a receipt to a customer confirming the details of a transaction. In most cases, the recipient of money provides the receipt, but in some cases the receipt is generated by the payer, as in the case of goods being returned for a refund. A receipt is not the same as an invoice.
There is usually no set form for a receipt, such as a requirement that it be machine generated. Many point-of-sale terminals or cash registers can automatically produce receipts. Receipts may also be generated by accounting systems, be manually produced or generated electronically, for example if there is not a face-to-face transaction. To reduce the cost of postage and processing, many businesses do not mail receipts to customers, unless specifically requested or required by law, with some transmitting them electronically. Others, to reduce time and paper, may endorse an invoice, account or statement as "paid".
The salesperson would indicate to the customer (whether by way of an invoice or otherwise) the total amount payable, and the customer would indicate the proposed payment of the amount. Payment in cash or by payment is regarded as payment of the amount tendered, but payment by store account is not. After processing the payment, the salesperson would then generate in the one document an invoice and receipt. If payment was made by a payment card, a payment record would normally also be generated.
The invoice and receipt are the printed record of the transaction, and are legal documents. A copy of these documents would normally be handed to the customer, though this step may be dispensed with. In many countries, a retailer may be under a legal obligation to provide a receipt to a customer which shows the details of a transaction and the shop and other information, so that the tax authority can check that sales and related taxes are not being hidden. The document may also include messages from the retailer, warranty or return details, special offers, advertisements or coupons, but these are merely promotional and not part of the formal receipt.