As a general rule, you should keep your tax records for a minimum of six years. However, if you are:
An employer, you need to keep Pay As You Earn (PAYE) records for three years (in addition to your current year)
A contractor in the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), you need to keep your CIS records for three years (in addition to your current year)
Keeping records to complete a personal (non-business) tax return, you only need to keep them for 22 months from the end of the tax year to which they relate.
If you need to keep records for other reasons, for example, the Companies Act requires limited companies to keep specific records and you also use those records for tax purposes, you need to be aware that there may be different time limits for retaining them. Be careful not to destroy any records you also use for tax purposes too soon.
The records that you need to keep
The records you need to keep will depend on the size and complexity of your business and the different taxes that you have to pay, collect or charge. The following are the most commonly required records and documents.
Self-employed and partnerships
You should retain all records of income and expenses that relate to the business.
Sales and takings including cash receipts
Purchases and expenses, including cash purchases
Bank and credit card statements
Motoring expenses and mileage records
Additional records if your business is VAT registered
VAT sales and purchase invoices
Import and export documentation, for example, delivery notes
Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
If you are a contractor
Details of all payments made to all subcontractors for work done and materials subcontractors have purchased, for example, subcontractor invoices.
If you are a subcontractor
Details of all payment and deduction statements, for example, copies of invoices issued and payment statements received.
All PAYE records, for example:
Payments made to employees
Deductions from your employee wages of Income Tax, National Insurance contributions (NICs) and Student Loan payments
Details of employee benefits and expenses
All records of statutory payments
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