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re‧ceipt /rɪˈsiːt/ ●●● S2 noun

1 [countable] a piece of paper that you are given which shows that you have paid for something

Keep your receipt in case you want to bring it back.

in‧voice1 /ˈɪnvɔɪs/ ●○○ noun [countable]

a list of goods that have been supplied or work that has been done, showing how much you owe for them

According to my study, it seems that "a receipt" lists things that you did pay for already, and "an invoice" lists things that you have not paid for and must pay for.

However, Cambridge Dictionary says

invoice noun [ C ] US /ˈɪn·vɔɪs/ a statement listing goods or services provided and their prices, used in business as a record of sale:

You need to have a copy of your original invoice if you want a refund.

So, I reckon sometimes "a receipt" and "an invoice" are the same.

Is that correct?

2 Answers 2

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An "invoice" is a different thing to a "receipt", albeit that they can be combined into a single document.

An "invoice" is a seller's advice to a customer of goods that have been shipped, or services that have been provided, and against which payment is or will be claimed. Unless it states that payment has been received it is not a "receipt".

A "receipt" is a document confirming receipt of payment for something.

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Yes, they can sometimes be the same. Especially with (prepaid) shipped goods the package will often contain a detailed list of what the box should contain. At least in AME the main difference in this circumstance is size and detail. A receipt will be printed on narrow continuous-fed paper and often contain abbreviations in the item descriptions. An invoice may or may not be printed on full-size pages but will use regular pages that are significantly wider than receipt ribbon, and thanks to the greater space abbreviated item descriptions are much less frequent.

In this circumstance they both serve the same purpose, indicating what the box should contain, and what an AME speaker is likely to describe it as will depend on the size as detailed. Proper receipts are much less frequent with shipped goods but I have encountered them.

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  • This might be how some companies present receipts and invoicies but is not a general description, and the nature will vary between types of business. Generally an invoice lists everything delivered, while a receipt may be briefer. If you buy from a shop, you traditionally got a little receipt printed by a cash register (till) on a small roll of paper which lists the price of every item and the total calculated, but if you order online, don't pay at a traditional till, or are in a business-to-business transaction you will get a receipt in a different format; now even a shop may email a receipt.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 21, 2022 at 9:57

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