If your company or organisation is liable for Corporation Tax, you must keep and retain adequate business and accounting records to file an accurate Company Tax Return and calculate how much Corporation Tax you need to pay.
This guide gives an overview of the records that you need to keep for Corporation Tax purposes. It explains how long you normally have to retain them for and when you may have to retain them for longer than usual. It also explains what happens if you don't keep adequate records or retain them for long enough.
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If your company or organisation is liable for Corporation Tax you must keep and retain adequate business and accounting records.
If your company is registered at Companies House, you must keep and retain certain accounting records showing your company's transactions and its financial position. You have to do this even if your company is not currently trading or no longer trading. These records include:
Generally, if your company keeps these records, you will not need to keep any more for Corporation Tax.
The business records that your company or organisation must keep for Corporation Tax purposes must:
You may find it useful to keep certain business records, for example:
You must normally retain your company or organisation's business and accounting records for at least six years from the end of your Corporation Tax accounting period. For example, if your accounting period ends on 31 March 2009, you'll need to keep the records for that period until at least 31 March 2015.
You don't need to keep the vast majority of your records in their original form. If you prefer, you can keep a copy of most of them in an alternative format. For example:
Whatever alternative format you choose, your records must be legible and you must be able to produce them in a readable format if you need to.
But there are certain records that you must keep in their original form. These include:
From 1 April 2009 HMRC can specify in writing that records may be kept for a shorter period.
In some circumstances, your company or organisation may need to keep records for longer than the normal six years from the end of your Corporation Tax accounting period.
Sometimes your business records might cover more than one accounting period. Examples of when this might happen:
If your company or organisation's business records cover more than one accounting period, you must keep these records for at least six years from the end of your latest Corporation Tax accounting period to which the records relate.
Your company or organisation must retain records of capital expenditure from the date any asset is purchased until at least six years after the date it's sold, transferred or otherwise disposed of. This may be more than six years from the date you acquired the asset.
If you file your Company Tax Return late you may need to retain the associated business records for more than six years. You'll need to retain the records until the deadline for HMRC to make an enquiry into that return has passed. HMRC will normally tell you within 12 months of the date when you filed your return if they intend to start an enquiry.
If HMRC makes an enquiry into your Company Tax Return, amendment or claim, you may need to retain your company or organisation's records for longer than normal. For example if a return, amendment or claim is under enquiry, your company or organisation must retain the business records relating to that particular accounting period until the enquiry is completed.
If your company or organisation's business records are lost, stolen, or destroyed and you can't replace them, you must tell HMRC as soon as possible and do your best to recreate them.
Once you've gathered replacement information you can use this information to deliver your Company Tax Return. You must tell HMRC whether any figures in your return are:
If your company or organisation does not keep adequate records for Corporation Tax purposes, or does not retain records for long enough, you may be charged a penalty of up to £3,000.
Your company may have to keep other records to satisfy the requirements of other HMRC taxes.
For example, if your business is registered for VAT, you must keep certain business records and VAT records of your sales and purchases. You must also keep a separate summary of your VAT, called a 'VAT account'. Additionally, if your company works in the construction industry, you must retain sufficient business and accounting records to support your Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) Return. You also need to keep specific records if you are an employer.
Follow the links below to find more detailed information.