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  • Shepherd Partnership

How long should I keep my tax records?

We're often asked by our clients how long books and records should be kept. Here we have put together an overview of the rules.

As you would expect, when it comes to tax there is seldom just one simple answer. Records are covered by various pieces of legislation, so the answer depends on what the records are.

Income Tax records

The answer here is in the detail as it depends on whether you run a business, including a property letting business.

Where you have business income you need to keep records for 5 years from the 31st January which follows the end of the tax year. So, records for the year ended 05 April 2018 need to be kept until 31 January 2024. Where there is no business income the records only need to be kept for 12 months after the 31st January following the tax year end. Where tax returns are filed late different rules apply. If you send your tax return more than 4 years after the deadline, you will need to keep your records for 15 months after you send your tax return.

Company records

You must keep records for 6 years from the end of the last company financial year they relate to, or longer if:

  • they show a transaction that covers more than one of the company's accounting periods.

  • the company has bought something that it expects to last more than 6 years, like equipment or machinery.

Value Added Tax

You must keep VAT records for at least 6 years (or 10 years if you are using the VAT One Stop Shop (OSS) scheme or used the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme


You need to keep PAYE records for 3 years from the end of the tax year they relate to.

If you have any further questions about record keeping, please don't hesitate to ask a member of our team for help!

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