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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Record Keeping: How long must records be retained for: Capital gains or losses

A capital gain or capital loss arises when a person sells or otherwise disposes of a chargeable capital asset. The person will need to keep and retain records that will enable them to make a correct and complete return of the capital gain or capital loss for capital gains tax or corporation tax purposes.

Records that support the calculation of the capital gain or loss include documents relating to

  • the disposal, for example contract for sale or lease, valuations
  • the acquisition, for example contract for purchase or lease of the asset
  • the cost of any improvements made to the asset during the period of ownership
  • the calculation of the gain or loss, for example any valuations.

Depending on the nature of the asset, other records may be appropriate. For example

  • details of the use of a property for principal private residence relief
  • notifications sent to us about a principal private residence
  • calculations of previous roll-over relief that affects the cost price of the asset
  • held over gains on the acquisition of a depreciating asset
  • details of renting out of a property for the purposes of determining the tainting of entrepreneurs relief
  • details of tenants of previously owned commercial properties for the purposes of determining past taper relief.

The person should retain records relating to the acquisition and improvement of a chargeable capital asset for the appropriate length of time following the period in which the asset is disposed of. These periods are set out in

  • CH14530 for income tax if the asset is a business asset
  • CH14550 for income tax if the asset is a non-business asset, and
  • CH14600 for corporation tax if the person is a company.