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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: records: reducing the retention period

You can allow a reduction of the retention period on an individual basis if the person requests it in order to allow early destruction of records, but you cannot increase the retention period.

Any request for a reduced retention period should be treated sympathetically. You should consider various factors, such as

  • the expense or effort imposed if we refused to reduce the retention period
  • the person’s compliance history and
  • the effect on future compliance.

Any concession should be confirmed in writing and recorded on HMRC systems.

You should refer to the detailed guidance about shorter retention periods for VAT at CH15300 and V1-24A.

For guidance about shorter retention periods for aggregates levy, climate change levy and landfill tax, see CH14950 and CCLG5050.

There are other shorter retention periods under specific excise regulations such as records relating to duty stamps which must be preserved for a period of three years from the day the record was made.