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What Is a Filing Receipt?

By Theresa Miles
Updated Feb 28, 2024
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A filing receipt is the official proof of the date and possibly the time that a document was presented for processing to a court or government agency. Whenever a document has to be submitted to an official entity by a deadline and missing that deadline will result in a denial of benefits or a penalty, a filing receipt ensures the person at risk has tangible proof of compliance. This type of receipt is used in various circumstances for both individuals and business entities.

Typically, a filing receipt is a slip of paper that is either stamped with the time and date by the entity accepting the document or filled out by hand and signed by an authorized person who received the document. It serves as official proof of the status of the filing and cannot be controverted by other circumstances, such as a claim by an agency that the filing was never made or that the paperwork cannot be found. Many obligations that require filings are deadline-sensitive, and that slip of paper can stave off administrative confusion and detrimental consequences.

In the US, businesses register with the secretary of state's office by filing paperwork and paying a fee. The office issues a filing receipt that establishes the effective date of the filing. This is considered the date the business officially begins its existence. If the business owner is sued, the date the business began its official life as an independent entity could determine if the owner is personally liable for damages.

Intellectual property registrations in all counties use some sort of filing receipt system to establish who is first in time for rights under the law. If a person creates an artistic work or an invention, his rights are often dependent upon government registration. A filing receipt establishes when the item was registered so a dispute or infringement issue can be settled if there is a competing claim.

A receipt for filing taxes is another example that is relevant for both individuals and businesses. Missing a tax deadline often entails significant sanctions and penalties. The bureaucracy surrounding tax administration means that a filing can be lost in the system at any time. In the US, for example, dropping a tax filing off at the post office is considered delivery to the government, and any proof of mailing issued by a post office clerk is considered an official filing receipt.

Clerks of the court also issue filing receipts when litigants file pleadings to deadline. Many courts stamp the pleading with the date and time received instead of using a separate piece of paper. The litigant retains a copy of the filing with the court's stamp as proof of compliance with cut off dates.

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