Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Claims Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Records and Information: Failure to Keep Records


Top of page


The legislation allows us to impose a specific penalty of up to £3,000 for any failure to maintain or preserve adequate records to support a claim whether it is made in a return or outside a return.

Each case should be carefully reviewed before deciding what penalty, if any, should be imposed. In practice, we use a sliding scale tariff reflecting the degree of seriousness and will take into account the circumstances surrounding the failure.

In many cases it will be sufficient to give a warning that a penalty will be imposed should the failure re-occur at some future date. However, in cases of proven deliberate destruction of records, we may impose the full penalty without warning.

We will not impose a penalty, under this legislation, for any failure that occurred before 6 April 1996.