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"I have recently faced the challenge of explaining to a taxpayer that they cannot claim deductions for expenses that are documented by receipts too faded to be legible. I’m sure this must happen more frequently, given nearly every cash register receipt these days is printed on that paper that fades into oblivion within about 2 years, or much less than that if printed very faintly to begin with. 

Yes I know about PS LA 2005/7 which gives a lovely example of the world’s best client who “photocopies the thermal paper receipts to protect the information contained on the receipts and ensure that he is able to continue to provide a copy of the receipts long after the original receipts fade”. Honestly, how many of our clients would do this? I also know about TR 97/24 which sets out when the Commissioner will grant relief from substantiation requirements. All nice motherhood stuff, but what if you can’t read the receipt in the first place?

I am interested to know whether the ATO or any other government body has the power and/or desire to push retailers to print their register receipts in a manner that will last long enough to enable unsuspecting taxpayers to satisfy the general 5 year record keeping rule."