Guide

Business records if you're self-employed

Last updated: 7 December 2017

How long to keep your records

You must keep your records for at least 5 years after the 31 January submission deadline of the relevant tax year. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) may check your records to make sure you're paying the right amount of tax.

Example

If you sent your 2013 to 2014 tax return online by 31 January 2015, you must keep your records until at least the end of January 2020.

Very late returns

If you send your tax return more than 4 years after the deadline, you'll need to keep your records for 15 months after you send your tax return.

If your records are lost, stolen or destroyed

If you can't replace your records, you must do your best to provide figures. Tell HMRC when you file your tax return if you're using:

  • estimated figures - your best guess when you can't provide the actual figures
  • provisional figures - your temporary estimated figures while you wait for actual figures (you'll also need to submit actual figures when available)
Business records if you're self-employed
How long to keep your records