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HMRC internal manual

VAT Traders’ Records Manual

Preserving records: Deregistered traders and record keeping

Generally speaking, traders who deregister must keep their records until the 6-year limit is reached. There are two notable exceptions:

  1. Where there is a transfer of a going concern, the obligation passes to the transferee (unless otherwise directed by the Commissioners on application by the transferor). Work is ongoing to reconcile this requirement with the former Inland Revenue requirement that records should not be transferred. If this conflict cannot be resolved by providing copy records, the discretion should be used to allow the transferor to keep the records.
  2. When a company deregisters as a result of liquidation. In 1987 an agreement was reached with the Department of Trade and Industry that liquidators need only preserve the records of insolvent companies for 12 months from the date of dissolution of the company. If we require the records to be preserved for a longer period, it is our responsibility to take charge of them and incur the costs of storage.