Thanks for asking your question! I'm sorry to hear about your tax
issue and I'm going to try my best to help you understand or resolve it.
Thank you for asking your questions, as recordkeeping is of utmost concern for tax payers.
1) If you have the orignial paper receipts, keep those in a file for seven years. You can scan a digital copy for backup purposes, and rely on your digital copies for day to day reference, but then you still have the original in the event you are asked for it.
The IRS isn't going to penalize you for having a digital only copy so theoretically you could get rid of our paper receipts, but I like them because they are more 'official' than a scanned copy. That's why I like to keep them. You'd be okay storing these offsite if you don't have the space, and referring back to them if the need ever arose.
2) receipts and invoices by email - keep a copy (digital is fine) of the email that they came with and the receipt. I like to set up archive folders and just keep the emails in labeled folders within Outlook to refer back to if the need arises. You can also just keep a PDF copy in your digital records.
3) For receipts in languages other than English, get a certified copy of the translation of the document to place with the document. You could wait until you are asked for the documents by the IRS if you only have a few. If you have numerous foreign receipts, I'd go ahead and get certified translations once every quarter or so The certified translation would need to come from an interpreter. If your receipt is in Spanish or French, chances are someone within the IRS would be able to read them...but you'd still need a translation.
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