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Retention of records PDF Print E-mail

Our company has been operating for 5 years. In all this time,
we haven't destroyed anything. Now we feel it is time for a tidy
up, but we are not sure how long we are supposed to hold onto
our records. The records we are referring to are things like sales
invoices, purchase invoices, bank statements, etc. As we always
store these in boxes, we now have quite a few gathering dust.
How far back could we go in destroying these?

The recommended retention period
for records depends on a number
of factors including l
egal requirements, storage costs, the organisations'
own need to access the document and the historical value of the
document.

Each type of document needs to be assessed separately. In the case
of many types of documents, it will be sufficient to keep them only for
the period required by statute; others will be essential reference
material in future years and you might, therefore, decide to keep them
longer than the period required by law.

We have set out in the tables below the some of the more common
legal and commercial documents kept by organisations together
with an indication of the time periods for which they should
be retained.


DescriptionRetention periodReason
Tax records in support of tax returns of unincorporated businesses5 years from the 31 January following the tax year for which the tax return is made

(1)

Tax records in support of personal tax returns of individuals not carrying on a business22 months from the end of the tax year to which they relate  

(1)

Tax records in support of Corporation Tax Returns6 years from the end of the period to which the return relates 

(2)

Supporting documents for capital gains/losses for Individuals 5 years after the 31 January following the tax year in which the gain was made or loss was suffered  

(3)

Supporting documents for capital gains/losses for Companies 6 years from the end of the accounting period in which the gain or loss was made

(3)

VAT Records6 years

(4)

Accounting Records for private companies3 years from the end of the financial period

(5)

Accounting Records for public companies6 years from the end of the financial period

(5)

PAYE and Construction Industry records3 years

(6)

Records in support of a tax return under HM Revenue & Customs enquiry Until the enquiry is complete

(1)


Notes:
(1) Tax Management Act 1970, Sections 12 and 15
(2) Finance Act 1998 Schedule 18 paragraph 21-22
(3) Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992
(4) VAT Act 1994 s58 and Schedule 11, paragraph 6
(5) Section 222(5) Companies Act 1985
(6) Income Tax (PAYE) Regulation 2003, Reg.97  

 

 
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