Tax credits - what paperwork should you keep?

In case the Tax Credit Office checks your details, it's a good idea to keep certain paperwork safe. It also helps to keep your award notices and letters from the Tax Credit Office - in case you want to appeal, for example. Find out more, including what happens if you've lost your paperwork.

On this page:

Documents everyone who gets tax credits should keep

After you've made or renewed your tax credits claim, the Tax Credit Office may need to check your details. In case this happens, they recommend you keep the following paperwork.

Household paperwork

The Tax Credit Office recommends you keep:

  • bank and building society account statements
  • mortgage statements
  • rental agreements
  • council tax bills
  • utility bills such as gas, electricity, water and telephone, including mobile phones

Personal documents

The Tax Credit Office recommends you keep:

  • NHS medical cards
  • Passport - if you have one
  • birth certificates
  • paperwork for other benefits you might get, such as award notices
  • full details of any other income you, your partner, or children receive
  • details of your household income and outgoings
  • records of any amounts you've contributed to a registered pension scheme
  • records of any gift aid donations to charity you've made

There is other paperwork that it's a good idea to keep too. To find out what else the Tax Credit Office recommends you keep, see the sections below.

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If you work for an employer

If you're employed, the Tax Credit Office recommends you keep the following, in case they need to check your tax credits claim:

  • all your P60 certificates
  • any P45 you've had
  • any P11D forms you've had, showing taxable benefits and expenses
  • payslips
  • contracts of employment
  • if you're in a salary sacrifice scheme - any paperwork you have received relating to the scheme, or changes to your employment contract

Find out more about forms P45, P60 and P11D

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If you're self-employed

If you're self employed, the Tax Credit Office recommends you keep the following, in case they need to check your tax credits claim:

  • your Unique Taxpayer Reference Number
  • details of bookings or appointments you have taken or made
  • copies of any advertisements you've placed
  • details of the hours you've worked each week
  • invoices you've written for any work done

It's important to know that there is different guidance for what you need to keep for your tax return. For business purposes you'll probably have to keep more documents, and for a longer period. For more information, follow the link below.

Record keeping (self-employed)

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If you've got children

If you've got children, the Tax Credit Office recommends you keep the following, in case they need to check your tax credits claim:

  • your child's passport, if they have one
  • your child's birth certificate, or adoption certificate
  • Child Benefit paperwork
  • any documents showing where your child lives - for example dental or hospital appointment cards or medical cards
  • letters or reports from your child's school confirming their attendance
  • Education Authority documents to confirm your child goes to a particular school, or is on a waiting list for a school
  • any documents showing that your child was in education or training over the age of 16
  • any documents showing that your child was registered for work, education or training with an approved body - for example a careers service or Connexions

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If you pay for childcare

If you pay for childcare, the Tax Credit Office recommends you keep the following, in case they need to check your tax credits claim:

  • your contract with your childcare provider
  • any invoices from your childcare provider
  • any receipts for payments to your childcare provider

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If you've come to the UK from abroad

If you're claiming tax credits and you've come to the UK from abroad, the Tax Credit Office recommends you keep the following:

  • any Home Office documents
  • any Worker Registration Scheme documents you might have
  • any Worker Authorisation Documents you might have

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Why should you keep your paperwork?

Each year the Tax Credit Office checks thousands of tax credit claims to make sure they're paying the right amount of tax credits.

If the Tax Credit Office decides to check your claim, they'll check all the information you've given them. They'll write and explain what happens and what they need from you. As part of the check, they could ask you for certain documents or paperwork, such as those listed above.

If the Tax Credit Office does ask you for original documents, they will return them securely. But if they believe that any documents you've given them are not genuine, they may keep them.

Your tax credits award notices and paperwork

As well as the documents above it's also useful to keep any award notices or other letters that the Tax Credit Office sends you. It's up to you how long you keep them, but it's a good idea to keep them for as long as you are getting tax credits.

These will be useful when the Tax Credit Office asks you to 'renew' your tax credits claim each year. They could also help you if you think something has gone wrong with your tax credits or, for example, you want to make an appeal.

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How long you should keep your paperwork for?

For tax credits it's a good idea to keep the documents listed on this page for the current tax year and at least the two tax years before that (a tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next).

But it's important to know that you might need to keep some documents longer for tax or business purposes - for example P60 certificates or business records if you're self-employed.

The Tax Credit office also recommends that you keep your tax credits award notices (and other letters they send you) for as long as you are getting tax credits.

Record keeping (self-employed)

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You've lost your paperwork

If your claim is checked and you don’t have the paperwork you're asked for, tell the Tax Credit Office straight away. You can find contact details on the letter they sent you.

You might have to ask for another copy of the paperwork. For example if you've been asked for a bank statement that you've lost, you might have to contact your bank. The Tax Credit Office will let you know if they want you to do this.

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More useful links

Tax credit checks

Problems with your tax credits - where to start

Renewing your tax credits claim

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