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What information should I keep?

You are legally required to keep records concerning your income and tax. It differs depending on whether you are employed of self employed. The current time limits are given at the end of this document. You may have to pay a penalty if you don't keep records or if you don't keep your records for long enough.

Types of records you may need to keep

We only list the main documents here. If unsure we suggest you keep all documents concerning your income, savings and investments and tax paid.

Income from employment

  • your P45 - if you leave your job, part 1A of this form shows your pay and tax to the date you left
  • your P60 - if you're in a job on 5 April, this shows your pay and tax details for the tax year
  • form P11D - this shows details of your expenses and benefits, such as a company car or health insurance
  • certificates for Taxed Award Schemes
  • information about redundancy or termination payments

Benefits records

  • social security benefits including state pension
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Statutory Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Pay
  • Jobseeker's Allowance

Pension records

  • your form P160 (part 1A), which you received when you retired and started getting a pension from your former employer
  • your form P60 giving details of your pension and the tax deducted
  • any other details of a pension (including State Pension) and the tax (if any) deducted from it
  • Your form P45 when you have taken all of your money out of your pension under the pension flexibility rules

Interest, dividends or other income from UK savings, investments or trusts

  • bank and building society statements or passbooks
  • statements of interest and other income you've received from your savings and investments
  • tax deduction certificates supplied by your bank
  • dividend vouchers received from UK companies
  • life insurance chargeable event certificates
  • details of income you receive from a trust

Income from property

Keep details of the income and rents you've received, and the expenses you've paid from letting out property.

Foreign income or gains

Keep all dividend vouchers, tax certificates and personal financial records including:

  • records of overseas earned income, for example from employment, self-employment or property letting
  • end of year information for foreign pensions
  • dividend certificates from overseas companies
  • overseas Interest payments

How long to keep your records

You must normally keep your records for another year after the online tax return deadline of 31 January. We suggest that you keep records for the same amount of time even if you pay your tax via PAYE.

For example:

The tax return deadline for an online 2017-18 return is 31 January 2019.
You need to keep your records until 31 January 2020, one year later.

Business records

Keeping up-to-date and accurate records from the start is important for your business. It makes it easier to fill in your tax return. A good record system helps you keep track of your expenses. You may have to pay a penalty if you don't keep records or if you don't keep your records for long enough.

Always keep detailed records. It will make it easier to answer any questions that HMRC has about your tax return.

How long to keep your business records

You must normally keep your business records for another five years after the online tax return deadline of 31 January.

For example:

The tax return deadline for an online 2017-18 return is 31 January 2019.
You need to keep your records until 31 January 2024, five years later;

Earlier years;

2012/13   31st January 2019.

2013/14   31st January 2020.

2014/15   31st January 2021.

2015/16   31st January 2022.

2016/17   31st January 2023.

Posted in: An introduction to the tax system