How Long Should you Keep Records for Tax Purposes?

The length of time you need to keep tax records depends on the types of income you earn and the types of tax you are paying. A list of time limits is set out below:

Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax

1. If you are not in business
One year from the 31 January following the end of the tax year. For 2016-17, you would need to keep your records until 31 January 2019.

2. If you are in business – which includes rental income
Five years from the 31 January following the end of the tax year. For 2016-17, you would need to keep your business and other tax records until 31 January 2023.

3. A company subject to Corporation Tax
Six years from the end of an accounting period. For the year ending 31 December 2016 you would need to keep records until 31 December 2022.

4. VAT
You should keep records for at least six years.

5. PAYE
You should keep payroll records for three years after the end of a tax year. For 2016-17 this would be until 5 April 2020.

These deadlines can be extended. For example, if:

– You file your return late.

– A return is subject to an enquiry or compliance check.

– Records relate to a transaction spanning more than one year.

– An asset is bought which is expected to have a life beyond the time limit.

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