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Get a Receipt!

You would not deliver $100 in cash to a vendor’s employee without a receipt. If the money were misposted or "lost," you would have no record of the payment having been made.

Business people, however, deliver important documents to clerks in state and local government offices all the time. Even though it could cost the business tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars if the documents were lost in the bureaucracy, the documents are delivered without a receipt.

There is, however, a simple solution.

The contractor for a business delivered a package of documents to a planning department. These documents were crucial for the approval process. Months later, the planning department claims the documents were never received. It then started making things difficult for the business under the building permit.

It really is easy to get the equivalent of a receipt. Almost every office has a date stamp they use when receiving documents. That stamp usually includes the name of the office.

If you are delivering one or multiple pages of documents to a government office, bring an extra copy of the first page. After the documents are accepted and the first page of the package is date stamped, ask the clerk to also date stamp your duplicate copy of the first page. If they ask why, simply state that you want a “conformed copy.” The clerk should know what that means. Once the clerk puts the date stamp on your copy, that copy has been conformed to match the first page of the documents you delivered.

Now, if anyone ever questions whether you delivered the documents or delivered the documents before an applicable deadline, you have a conformed copy that verifies your delivery. This is your receipt.

This is a technique that lawyers use all the time. A good lawyer will not deliver any documents without a conformed copy. We have used this technique in state and federal courts, city offices, county offices and countless state agencies. This is a precaution you can employ as well.

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