Keeping on top of your business records as well as separate personal records of your income is a crucial exercise if you’re self-employed as a sole trader, or as a partner in a business partnership.

From a tax perspective, business records must be held for at least five years from the 31 January submission deadline for the relevant tax year.

If we use the 2019/20 tax year as an example, with an online filing deadline of 31 January 2021, records must be kept until at least the end of January 2026. It is important to remember also, in certain circumstances, the records must be held for longer – such as when a return is submitted late.

There are other records you should be keeping a record of if you’re self-employed too – such as PAYE records if you employ anyone, or VAT records if you’re registered for VAT.

There are penalties for not keeping proper records, or for errors in records. If you would like to discuss this topic in the context of your own business, contact our team on 01788 539000 or 0116 261 0061.


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