Looking to clear out your loft/shelves/understairs cupboard but they are full of receipts and records for your accounts and tax returns? Wondering whether you can chuck them? Or worried that will tempt fate and the next letter to come through the door will be a tax investigation?
Well, HMRC do give guidance on how long you are obliged to keep records. They can be kept in any format e.g. paper, digital copies or as part of an accounting software.
• For a personal tax return that is filed on time then you should keep the records for 22 months after the filing deadline. This is different if you are self-employed, please see below.
• If you are self-employed/sole trader then you should keep your records for at least 5 years after your 31st January submission of your tax return.
• For company records then you need to keep them for at least 6 years after you latest financial year. That is a lot of paperwork!
If there is anything in your records that relates to more than one accounting period or your tax return was submitted late (or you are already under investigation) then you need to keep your records longer.
Hopefully that should help you with your decisions as to what to get rid of and what to keep. If you are at all uncertain then please just ask. We are happy to help.