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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Record Keeping: How long must records be retained for: VAT: Transfer of a going concern (TOGC)

Following a review of the VAT rules for transfers of a going concern (TOGC) a change in record keeping requirements brings the VAT rules into line with other tax regimes.

1 September 2007 onwards

The seller of a business that is transferred as a going concern normally retains the records. They must, however

  • provide the buyer with information from the records necessary for the buyer to comply with their duties under the VAT Act,
  • make the information available to the buyer within a timeframe and in any form that the buyer reasonably requests. It is acceptable for the seller to provide copies of the requested records, or to allow the buyer suitable access to the relevant records to make their own copies, or extract details of the relevant data from the records,
  • transfer the records to the buyer where the buyer wants to take on the seller’s VAT number. If the seller needs to retain the records in this situation, they may apply to us for permission to do so. Where we give permission, the seller must still make available to the buyer the information the buyer needs to comply with their duties under the VAT Act. If it is not possible to transfer the records for other reasons, the seller may give the buyer a copy of the relevant records.

HMRC may disclose to the buyer information it holds on the transferred business that is needed by the buyer to comply with its duties under VAT law.

Prior to 1 September 2007

The business records of a VAT registered business that was transferred as a going concern were transferred to the buyer of the business. The seller was able to apply to us for permission to retain the records.

‘Transfer of a going concern’ includes the transfer of part of a business where that part is capable of existing as a separate operation.