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

HMRC internal manual

VAT Traders’ Records Manual

Preserving records: The trader’s basic obligation to preserve records

The VAT Act 1994, schedule 11 paragraph 6(3) requires every taxable person to preserve such records as they are required to keep for a period not exceeding 6 years. The records can be preserved by any locally approved means.

Records must be preserved for the required period regardless of whether the trader remains registered. Generally speaking, traders who deregister must keep their records until the 6-year limit is reached. However, special rules apply to cases involving insolvency or the transfer of a going concern.

Although the maximum period of preservation is 6 years, HMRC may allow shorter periods. The trader must apply for this concession in writing.