The point at which the 6-year record retention period starts varies depending on the nature of the documents.
Records such as invoices should be retained for 6 years from the date of issue. This rule applies equally to documents that refer to events that are to take place in the future (possibly a future date of payment or future supply of goods). In such cases the 6-year period runs not from the date of the future event but from the date on which the document itself is issued.
Records such as a balance sheet or trading account should be retained for 6 years from the date they are prepared.
Records such as ledgers, daybooks or stock books which are
A taxable person, see
CH10400, is only legally required to
retain records that are less than 6 years old. It is not a breach
of the law if they destroy piecemeal the pages of a bound book, or
parts of pages or cards, as soon as the information recorded on
them has been kept for the statutory period. However, the person
should consider whether the record is required for any other
reason. For example if this is the only record of improvement
expenditure on a capital asset and the sale would be liable to
capital gains tax, see
This guidance is subject to any different requirements set out in a special scheme, see CH12400.