You may have to pay Capital Gains Tax if you sell or give something away that’s increased in value.
To work out the gain or loss you’ve made on an ‘asset’ (like property or shares), you must keep records of its value.
- when you originally 'acquired' it (eg bought it, were given it or it was inherited)
- when you 'disposed' of it (eg sold it, gave it away)
You also need to keep records of money you've spent on it if you want to take these into account when you're working out the gain or loss.
You should also keep:
- contracts for buying or selling the asset
- bills, invoices or other records of payments made or received
- copies of any valuations
When you buy or otherwise ‘acquire’ an asset
You should keep records of:
- the original cost, if bought after 31 March 1982
- the market value on 31 March 1982, if you owned it on that date
- the market value of any inherited asset on the day you got it
- any costs related to acquiring the asset (eg valuation fees, Stamp Duty)
- any costs of improving the asset (excluding maintenance or cleaning)
- any legal costs of proving your ownership
When you sell or otherwise ‘dispose of’ an asset
You should keep records of:
- the amount you received for it if you sold it
- if you gave it away, its market value on the date of the gift or transfer
- related legal, advertising or other fees
The HM Revenue and Customs website has more detailed guidance.
You should keep:
- evidence of income you’ve earned from overseas, like payslips, bank statements or payment confirmations
- receipts for any overseas expenses you want to claim to reduce your tax bill
- dividend certificates from overseas companies
- certificates or other proof of the tax you’ve already paid - either in the UK or overseas
You should keep details of:
- the dates when you let out your property
- all rent you get
- any income from services you give to tenants (eg if you charge for maintenance or repairs)
- rent books, receipts, invoices and bank statements
- allowable expenses you pay to run your property (eg services you pay for such as cleaning or gardening)
There are rules about what you can and can’t claim as expenses on your tax return.
You should keep all:
- bank or building society statements and passbooks
- statements of interest and income from your savings and investments
- tax deduction certificates from your bank
- dividend vouchers you get from UK companies
- unit trust tax vouchers
- documents that show the profits you’ve made from life insurance policies (called ‘chargeable event certificates’)
- details of income you get from a trust
- details of any out-of-the ordinary income you’ve received, like an inheritance
You should keep:
- form P160 (Part 1A) which you got when your pension started
- form P60 which your pension provider sends you every year
- any other details of a pension (including State Pension) and the tax deducted from it
You must keep records about your business income and costs for longer if you're self-employed.
How long you should keep your records depends on whether you send your tax return before or after the deadline.
Tax returns sent on or before the deadline
You should keep your records for at least 22 months after the end of the tax year the tax return is for.
If you send your 2013 to 2014 tax return online by 31 January 2015, keep your records until at least the end of January 2016.
Tax returns sent after the deadline
You should keep your records for at least 15 months after you sent the tax return.
Income from employment
You should keep documents about your pay and tax, including:
- your P45 - if you leave your job, this shows your pay and tax to the date you left
- your P60 - if you’re in a job on 5 April, this shows your pay and tax for the tax year
- form P11D - this shows your expenses and benefits, like a company car or health insurance
- certificates for any Taxed Award Schemes
- information about any redundancy or termination payment
You should also keep details of any other income or benefits from your job, including:
- any tips received (unless your employer pays them through the ‘tronc’ system, which means they will have deducted tax already)
- benefits you get in connection with your job from someone other than your employer, like meal vouchers
- any lump sum payments not included on your P60 or P45, like incentive payments or ‘golden hellos’ (payments you get to encourage you to take a new job)
If you’ve had to pay for things like tools, travel or specialist clothing for work, you may be able to claim for these to reduce the tax you’ll have to pay. You need to keep a record of these so you can include them in your tax return.
You should keep any documents relating to:
- social security benefits
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Statutory Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Pay
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income from employee share schemes or share-related benefits
You should keep:
- copies of share option certificates and exercise notices
- letters about any changes to your options
- information about what you paid for your shares and the relevant dates
- details of any benefits you’ve received as an employee shareholder
You need to keep records if you have to send HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) a Self Assessment tax return.
You’ll 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 if you're 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 program (like book-keeping software).
HMRC can charge you a penalty if your records aren't accurate, complete and readable.
Lost or destroyed records
Try to get copies of as much as you can, eg ask banks for copies of statements, suppliers for duplicate invoice etc.
You can use 'provisional' or 'estimated' figures if you can’t recreate all your records. You must use the ‘Any other information’ box on the tax return to say that this is what you’re doing.
'Provisional' means you'll be able to get paperwork to confirm your figures later. 'Estimated' means you won't be able to confirm the figures.
You may have to pay interest and penalties if your figures turn out to be wrong and you haven't paid enough tax.