HMRC Best Practise Guides

HMRC Document Retention

Rules for retaining HMRC & Chief documents

With the increase in electronic storage of documents and data, HMRC would like to remind ALL Traders of the HMRC requirement to store documents on file (whether physical or electronic) for up to 4 Years.

Any record or document relating to a customs transaction or procedure should be retained for a period of four calendar years in a suitable format under the Customs Trader (Accounts and Records)SI1995/1430.

Any record or document relating to a VAT or Revenue payment should be retained for a period of six calendar years in a suitable format under the Customs Trader (Accounts and Records) SI1995/1430.

Under the regulation, all that is required is that the record or document is in a suitable format to allow production and inspection to HMRC on request or demand, which in effect allows document storage in digital format.

For important HMRC/Chief documents such as preference certificates, the original document should always be retained.

Audits and Post Clearance demands placed by HMRC may require this original to be produced at any-time as a back-up to claims made on reduced Duty or Levy rates.

Documents stored electronically should be held in a secure location and it is essential that any held electronic documents are backed up. Holding documents in one unsecure location could result in lost data.

It is always a Trader's responsibility to ensure these HMRC regulations are met.

For further information, please contact the National Clearance Hub 0845 0010085 or nch@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.