Business records if self-employed

Posted on 18th July 2023 by Streets -  HMRC notices


Image to represent Business records if self-employed

If you are self-employed as a sole trader or as a partner in a business partnership, then you must keep suitable business records as well as separate personal records of your income. 

For tax purposes, the business records must be held for at least 5 years from the 31 January submission deadline for the relevant tax year. For example, for the 2021-22 tax year, when online filing was due by 31 January 2023, you must keep your records until at least the end of January 2028. In certain situations, such as when a return is submitted late, the records must be held for longer. 

If you are self-employed, you should also keep a record of:

  • all sales and income
  • all business expenses
  • VAT records if you’re registered for VAT
  • PAYE records if you employ people
  • records about your personal income
  • grant details if you claimed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme because of coronavirus.

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 as long as they can be recovered in a readable and uncorrupted format. For example, a scanned PDF document. 

If your records are no longer available for any reason, you must try and recreate them letting HMRC know if the figures are estimated or provisional. There are penalties for failing to keep proper records or for keeping inaccurate records. 


No Advice

The content produced and presented by Streets is for general guidance and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice. Furthermore, it should not be considered a recommendation or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities or other form of financial asset. The information provided by Streets is of a general nature and is not specific for any individual or entity. Appropriate and tailored advice or independent research should be obtained before making any such decisions. Streets does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which is incurred from you acting or not acting as a result of obtaining Streets' visual or audible content.

Information

The content used by Streets has been obtained from or is based on sources that we believe to be accurate and reliable. Although reasonable care has been taken in gathering the necessary information, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information we publish and we accept no liability for any errors or omissions in material. You should always seek specific advice prior to making any investment, legal or tax decisions.


Expert insight and news straight
to your inbox

Related Articles


Holiday Lets averaging election

The furnished holiday let (FHL) rules allow holiday lettings of properties that meet certain conditions to be treated as a trade for tax purposes. In order to qualify as a furnished holiday letting, the following criteria need to be met: The


Holiday Lets averaging election

The furnished holiday let (FHL) rules allow holiday lettings of properties that meet certain conditions to be treated as a trade for tax purposes. In order to qualify as a furnished holiday letting, the following criteria need to be met: The property must be let ...


Landlords - claiming maintenance and repairs costs

Landlords are able to claim for allowable expenses as a deduction from their rental income when calculating taxable rental profits to declare to HMRC. The expenses must relate wholly and exclusively for the purposes of renting out the property.


You might also be interested in...