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HMRC internal manual

PAYE Manual

Individual records: contact history: district records

District Record or DR references, also known as contact storage references, are an integral part of completing Contact History notes. They allow you to identify the location of any document that required retention after being used to update NPS.

From April 2010 every Strategic location uses a universal format to make a DR reference. This approach prevents confusion and speeds up the retrieval process.

The format is outlined in the following example


948 is the office numeral

C is the Group and site identifier

36A is the tax week and A - E for days of the week if volumes dictate this

11 is the year

Group identifier

Birmingham BI Ipswich I
Bootle BL Leicester L
Bristol BS Manchester M
Belfast BT Nottingham N
Bradford BD Portsmouth P
Cardiff C Stockton S
East Kilbride EK Washington WA
Edinburgh ED Wrexham WR

When to update Contact History with district references

You should update the Contact Storage Reference in the first Contact History note. Refer to the HMRC guidance on retention periods for clarification on the correspondence that should be retained or scrapped.

A district reference must be provided when

  • You have dealt with the correspondence and it complies with the guidance on retention periods


  • You have dealt with correspondence requested from another location

Note: When filing papers that have been requested from another location retain them with your current papers and change their previous Contact Storage Reference to the current Contact Storage reference.

After you have completed and saved the first Contact History note, subsequent notes will be pre-populated with the entries made on the previous note. You will be able to update, amend or delete any of the fields in the duplicated Contact History note if necessary, before saving.

Note: For registered, deceased or insolvency files, use the office numeral and site identifier followed by the folder reference, if applicable.