This is a question I've wondered about a fair bit, especially as I like everything to be digital, and mobileAgent is a great way to get your receipts into FreeAgent, digitally. The fine folks over at ReceiptBank have the answer
So we thought we’d share what HMRC say on the matter:
"Records may be preserved on optical imaging systems, and the originals discarded, provided that what is retained in digital form represents a complete and unaltered image of the underlying paper document."
If you’d like to find the exact text here’s the HMRC document. They’ve also reiterated this point in various other documents.
So, while you still need to keep the files for 7 years (yes, really), keeping them as digital versions is quite acceptable, which reduces the amount of paper you have to have lying around! Win!
Incase you didn't know, in mobileAgent you have various choices for your receipt images.
You can take a photo, and attach it to an Expense or Mileage entry, using Add Expense or Add Mileage on the home screen. When the item is uploaded, this is automatically attached in FreeAgent.
If you turn it on in settings, you can also save these images in Dropbox or the phone's Photo Library.
You can take a photo as a receipt, using Add Receipt. This is designed for things you spend on your company card, as opposed to an expense which is spent on your personal card and claimed back from the company later.
As FreeAgent doesn't have anywhere to store these, they are normally uploaded to Dropbox, but if the "Save to photo library" option is enabled, then they are saved there, too. Receipts will upload to Dropbox if it's linked, regardless of the "Save to Dropbox" setting. You can also email receipts to yourself when you enter them.
The "Save to Dropbox / Save to Photo Library" is mostly for people who either want a backup of their expense/mileage receipts, or need some way to bulk-send them to their accountant, without going through each item in FreeAgent and saving them off.