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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Record Keeping: Overview

A person must keep and maintain records in order to make a correct and complete return or claim even if they don’t make a return or claim every year. The person must retain these records and supporting documents for a specified period.

As part of the review of powers undertaken following the creation of HMRC, work has started on aligning the record-keeping requirements across different taxes. These changes allow HMRC to

  • make regulations to specify the records and supporting documents that either must or need not be kept
  • reduce the period for which records must be kept in individual cases, and
  • specify conditions and exceptions to the general rule that information instead of records may be preserved.

The taxes affected by these changes from 1 April 2009 are

  • income tax
  • capital gains tax
  • corporation tax
  • direct taxes claims not included in a return, and
  • VAT.

The taxes affected from 1 April 2010 are

  • insurance premium tax
  • stamp duty land tax
  • aggregates levy
  • climate change levy, and
  • landfill tax.

Record keeping requirements apply to

  • bank payroll tax from 8 April 2010
  • excise duties from 1 April 2011, and
  • annual tax on enveloped dwellings from 1 April 2013.

We may charge a penalty if a person fails to keep or retain records. There is no change to the existing penalty regimes.

Operational guidance starts at CH210000.






EU directive 2006/112/EU