HMRC may check you're keeping the right business records - find out what happens if they do
If you have to send HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tax returns you'll need to keep records to help you complete them correctly. HMRC may ask to see your records if they do a check on a return you send in for any tax.
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If you have to send HMRC a tax return, the law says that you must keep all the records and documents you need to complete the return. If you don't have adequate records or if you don't keep them for long enough, you may have to pay penalties.
If you do not keep adequate records or you do not keep your records for the required period of time, you may have to pay a penalty. See the records you need to keep below for links to more details.
Keeping your records up to date will help you have all the information you need to fill in your return correctly. If you send HMRC an inaccurate return you may have to pay a penalty.
You won't have to pay a penalty if you can show that you took reasonable care to get your return right but still made a mistake. Some of the ways in which you can show you've taken reasonable care include:
HMRC asks you to keep the original documents which show you've had tax deducted. For example if you're an employee your P60 form from your employer (which shows your pay and tax information for the tax year).
HMRC recommend you keep all the original documents you receive. This does not mean you need to keep them on paper. Most records can be scanned and kept electronically on a computer or a storage device such as a CD or memory stick. Make sure that whatever you use to keep records you:
For information about mobile applications to help small businesses with record keeping please see the section 'More useful links' at the end of this page.
The records you'll need to keep and how long you need to keep them depends upon the type of tax you have to pay. Follow the links below for more information: