How to Handle Rebates in QuickBooks

Written by david roberts
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How to Handle Rebates in QuickBooks
A rebate can be a percentage or fixed amount taken off total price to encourage purchase. (10 % image by Julydfg from

Sometimes as a small business owner, a vendor may offer you special discounts or rebates to purchase a certain amount. Most rebates involve collecting proof of purchase (UPC codes) along with receipts and a special rebate form with your contact information. Incorrect handling of a rebate in your QuickBooks company file can lead to getting taxed on the amount of the rebate as if it were income. Sometimes vendors will offer rebates if your customers buy a certain product or a certain quantity of a product. Both types of rebate can be recorded in QuickBooks.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Make note of the rebate on the memo line on either the purchase order or bill screen. The memo line should serve to remind you that a certain transaction has an anticipated rebate on the way. Putting it on the memo line will mean the rebate amount won't be posted. Make sure that customers do not see the invoices with notes of rebates on them; they may expect you to give them a discount if they see it.

  2. 2

    Open the check register window in QuickBooks when you receive the rebate check. Record the check as a deposit. If this is a rebate check for office supplies purchased, the account you will use will be "Office Supplies." Make sure the deposit account used is the same account used for the original purchase. If this is recorded as "Other Income," you will be taxed on it at the end of the year.

  3. 3

    Make a note on the memo line. Once the rebate has been received, go back to the transaction and place an asterisk or other indicator that the rebate has been paid.

  1. 1

    Create an "Other Current Asset" account. Click on the "List" button at the top of the bar menu. Scroll down to "Chart of Accounts" and click on it. When the chart of accounts opens, hit the "CTRL" key with the "N" key. The "Add New Account" window will open. Choose the "Other Types" menu and scroll down to "Other Current Asset." Name the new account "Rebates Receivable"

  2. 2

    Create a discount-type invoice item. Go to the "Lists" menu at the top menu bar and click "Item List." Hold the "CTRL" and "N" keys to create a new discount item. Name this discount item so that you can easily identify it with the particular rebate you are trying to work with. "Manufacturer's Rebate" would be a suitable name. A discount may be either a percentage off of the item sold or a set amount, which should be entered into the "Amount" box. The account should be "Rebates Receivable." This will discount the cost for the customer while keeping track of the amount of rebates owed to you by the vendor.

  3. 3

    Create a credit memo when you receive the credit memo from the vendor. Open the "Enter Bills" screen. Click on the circle next to "Credit" in the top left corner of the bill screen, under the "Previous" and "Next" buttons.

  4. 4

    Put the vendor that has sent the rebate check in the vendor line. Click on the "Expenses" tab and put "Rebates Receivable" in the account box and the amount of the rebate check in the amount column. Click "Save and Close."

Tips and warnings

  • Rebates offered to your customers from other companies are like the rebates offered by a car manufacturer. The manufacturer offers the rebate through the car lot making the sale to the customer. The car lot is reimbursed for the amount of the rebate subtracted from the customer's cost.
  • The vendor will likely issue your company a credit, not a check, for the amounts of the rebates on merchandise sold. If the vendor happens to send checks instead of credit memos, remember that the rebate is not income. Enter it as a deposit in the check register using the account from which the purchase was originally made (office supplies, cost of goods sold, etc.).

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