Keeping Your Records

How long must you keep your records?
You should normally keep your business records for five more years after the normal filing deadline of 31 January. This date applies even if you've sent in a paper tax return.
 
For example, for a 2010-11 return filed on or before 31 January 2012, you must keep your records until 31 January 2017. But if HMRC sent you - or you sent back - your tax return very late, you may need to keep your records for longer.  You need to keep them until the later of:
 
Ø five years after the normal filing deadline
Ø fifteen months after the date you sent your tax return
 
If a check has been started
You may need to keep your records for longer if a check has already been started - in this case you'll need to keep your records until HMRC writes and tells you they've finished the check.
 
If your records are lost or destroyed
If your business records are lost or destroyed and you can't replace them you must let HMRC know
what's happened and you'll have to try to recreate them.
 
Once you've gathered replacement information you use this to complete your tax return. You must tell HMRC whether any figures are:
 
Ø estimated - you want HMRC to accept these as final figures.
Ø Provisional - you are using these until you can confirm the
      figures (you must tell HMRC when you will be supplying actual
      figures).
 
If you make adjustments at a later date and you've underpaid tax there may be interest and penalties to pay.