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If you have to fill in a Self Assessment tax return as an employee, pensioner or company director, this guide explains the records you need to keep. You'll need these records to fill in your tax return or to answer questions from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about a return you've already filled in.
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If HMRC needs to check your return, they may ask to see the records you used to fill it in. So you should keep all the records and documents that you used.
You may have to pay a penalty if you don't keep records or if you don't keep your records for long enough.
This guide deals with typical records that employees, directors or pensioners, may need to keep.
You should keep documents containing details about your pay and tax that your employer provides, including:
You should also keep records of other income or benefits from your employment not covered in the list above, for example:
When you're employed you may have to pay expenses out of your own pocket in order to do your job. You may be able to claim for some or all of these expenses to reduce the tax you'll have to pay. You'll need to keep records so you can include the expenses in your Self Assessment tax return.
You should keep any records relating to:
You should keep:
You should keep all:
You should also keep:
Keep details of the income and rents you've received, and the expenses you've paid from letting out property.
Keep all dividend vouchers, tax certificates and personal financial records including:
You should keep information on all share schemes or share-related benefits including:
The records you should keep depend on your circumstances. It's a good idea to keep all records of an asset you've owned. This is in case you make a gain or loss when you sell, give away, transfer or exchange it.
Keep all information that you have used to:
You must normally keep your records for another year after the online tax return deadline of 31 January, in case HMRC decides to check your return. The same date applies even if you've sent in a paper tax return.
The tax return deadline for an online 2012-13 return is 31 January 2014.
You send your tax return in before this deadline.
You need to keep your records until 31 January 2015, one year later.
But if HMRC send you, or you send back your tax return very late, you may need to keep your records for longer. You need to keep them until the later of:
You may need to keep your records for longer if HMRC has started a check into your tax return. In this case you'll need to keep your records until HMRC writes and tells you they've finished the check.
If your records are lost or destroyed and you can't replace them, you must tell HMRC what has happened. You should try to get the missing information in other ways. For example, you can ask banks for interest figures or copies of bank statements, but they may charge for this.
Don't delay sending in the tax return while you wait for copies of records. Use the information you've managed to get together to fill in the tax return. Where it turns out you can't replace the information you'll need to estimate the missing figures. You must tell HMRC if any figures are:
If you provide actual figures at a later date and you've underpaid tax there may be interest and penalties to pay.
The types of records you must keep depend very much on the income you receive.
The sections above deal with typical records that employees, directors and pensioners may need to keep.
If you receive other income, such as income from self-employment or a property business, you need to keep different records and you may need to keep them for longer.