How long should you keep business accounts?

Information provided by Kidwells Accountancy on our website is for informational purposes only. For bespoke advice, call 01432 278 179 or email to learn more about what is best for your business.

How long you need to keep your records depends on whether you run a limited company or are self-employed. If you are an employer, whatever your business structure, you also have documents to retain.  

For a limited company

You must keep records for a minimum of six years from the end of the last company financial year they relate to, longer If any of the following is relevant: 

  • there is a transaction that is over more than one of the company’s accounting periods; 
  • the business has purchased an item that is expected to last more than six years, such as machinery; 
  • The Company Tax Return was submitted late; 
  • HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) is doing a compliance check into your Company Tax Return. 

If you are self-employed (sole trader)

If you are self-employed, your income is taxed via the self-assessment process. You must keep all your records for at least five years after the 31st of January deadline for submission of the relevant tax year.  

Why you should keep your account records

Apart from complying with your legal obligations, you should also keep your records if: 

  • HMRC chooses to check your business or personal tax affairs, you will need to produce your accounting records; 
  • you need to review a transaction for your own purposes.  

If you are an employer

As an employer, you need to keep all PAYE records for three years (as well as the current year) including all deductions made from employees’ pay, benefits, expenses, and any statutory payments. 

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Disclaimer: Information provided by Kidwells Accountancy on our website is for informational purposes only. It is provided in good faith but we make no guarantee of any kind regarding the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of any information on our site. We always recommend businesses seek independent legal and financial advice before working with us or acting on any information on our website.

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