Keeping your pay and tax records

You need to keep records if you have to send HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) a self assessment tax return. 

You will need your records to fill in your tax return correctly. If HMRC checks your tax return, they may ask for the documents.  

You must also keep records for business income and outgoings (external link) if you are self-employed. 

How to keep your records 

There are no rules on how you must keep records. You can keep them on paper, digitally or as part of a software programme (like book-keeping software). 

HMRC can charge you a penalty if your records are not accurate, complete and readable.  

Lost or destroyed records  

Try to get copies of as much as you can, for example ask banks for copies of statements, suppliers for duplicate invoice, and so on. 

You can use provisional or estimated figures if you cannot recreate all your records. You must use the ‘any other information’ box on the tax return to say that this is what you are doing. 

‘Provisional’ means you will be able to get paperwork to confirm your figures later. ‘Estimated’ means you will not be able to confirm the figures. 

You may have to pay interest and penalties if your figures turn out to be wrong and you have not paid enough tax.