Skip to main content
Skip table of contents

E-archiving and retention period in the United Kingdom


Electronic archiving is allowed in the UK, but not mandatory.

If records are kept digitally, these should be archived electronically (subject to the 12-month digital links soft-landing period). However, records not required to be kept digitally can be archived in paper format.

Record retention

VAT records must be kept for at least 6 years (or 10 years if using the VAT MOSS service).

VAT records include:

  • copies of all invoices issued

  • all invoices received (originals or electronic copies)

  • self-billing agreements

  • name, address and VAT number of any self-billing suppliers

  • debit or credit notes

  • import and export records

  • records of items VAT cannot be claimed on — for example business entertainment

  • records of goods given away or taken from stock for private use

  • records of all the zero-rated, reduced or VAT exempt items bought or sold

  • a VAT account.

General business records, such as bank statements, cash books, check stubs, paying-in slips and till rolls must also be kept.

Businesses signed up to the “Making Tax Digital for VAT” (MTD) regime must keep VAT records digitally (subject to a 12-month digital links soft landing period), as well as a number of other digital records, including the business name, address and VAT registration number, any VAT accounting schemes used, the time of supply, the net value of the supply and VAT on everything bought and sold.

All transactions must be added to the digital records, but paper records such as invoices or receipts do not need to be scanned.

Additional records must be kept if digital services are supplied in the EU using the VAT MOSS scheme.

A fully paperless process is supported in the United Kingdom.

Source: Worldwide VAT, GST and Sales Tax Guide - EY

JavaScript errors detected

Please note, these errors can depend on your browser setup.

If this problem persists, please contact our support.