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Companies can claim an expense as long as they have the mean to justify it, usually in the form of invoice or receipt. I have heard of self-employed picking up random receipts (that they didn't incur) to claim against their taxes.

Would a marketplace for trading receipts be legally allowed to operate?

ps: let's say under UK law for argument's sake but I'd be glad to hear about other places too.

  • Selling goods or services to enable people to commit fraud would not be a lawful enterprise, but that seems so obvious I'm wondering whether you had something else in mind. What reasons would companies operating in the marketplace give for trading receipts, and why - if not to commit fraud - would someone buy them? – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Dec 14 '18 at 13:07
  • @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere i'm not a lawyer but from experience I'd try to keep "obvious" out of the equation. Is it usually a company's responsibility what their customers' motives are? Similarly would stackexchange be held responsible for facilitating the identification of unlawlful practices? – Renaud Dec 14 '18 at 16:19
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    Setting something up for the purpose of enabling someone to do something illegal would not be something that could be entered as a nature of business for a registered company. So not lawful, and technically not "allowed", but that's not the same as saying it would be in breach of legislation or would incur immediate prosecution. Some good examples in the answers of what might be lawful (collecting receipts as a hobby), or unlawful but difficult to prosecute (Silk Road). – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Dec 15 '18 at 9:25
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Would a marketplace for trading receipts be legally allowed to operate?

Yes, or at least I think so, since it is highly doubtful that any legislation outlaws receipts trading.

Unlike other documents, there is no commonplace notion that receipts are secret, non-transferable, or even private. For it to be actionable, the marketplace would have to engage in, or openly promote, practices which are "more unequivocally" illicit.

The possibility that some people might pursue receipts for tax fraud, enjoyment of unearned rights, or other illegitimate purposes does not imply that trading of receipts in and of itself is unlawful. For instance, a person might come up with a bizarre --but nonetheless plausible-- hobby of collecting receipts with certain sequences of figures.

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A market established for the purpose of facilitating a crime (tax evasion) would be illegal in most if not all jurisdictions. It is fundamentally no different from Silk Road.

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