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HMRC internal manual

VAT Traders’ Records Manual

How to treat requests for a concession: Minimum retention periods for certain types of record

Manual records:

  Type of record Minimum period of preservation
1. Sales or service dockets (mainly used by large organisations especially those involved mainly in retail trading e.g. mail order houses). No restriction
2. Copies of orders, delivery notes, dispatch notes, goods returned notes, invoices for expenses incurred by employees. 1 year
3. Production records, stock records (except those for second hand schemes), job cards, appointment books, diaries, business letters.  
4. Import, export and delivery from warehouse documents. 3 years
5. Daybooks, ledgers, cashbooks, second hand scheme stock books.  
6. Purchase invoices, copy sales invoices, credit notes, debit notes, authenticated receipts. 4 years
7. Daily gross takings records, records related to retail scheme calculations, catering estimates.  
8. Bank statements and paying in books, management accounts, annual accounts. 5 years
9. Electronic Cash Registers (ECR) and Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) equipment 4 years
10. Any record containing the VAT account No concession