VAT record keeping requirements

By Tolley

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • VAT record keeping requirements
  • Required VAT records
  • Making Tax Digital (MTD)
  • Other business records
  • Record keeping requirements for persons who are not VAT registered
  • Businesses registered under the VAT MOSS scheme
  • Record retention period
  • Storage methods
  • Transfer of a business as a going concern

This guidance note provides an overview of the VAT record keeping requirements that VAT registered businesses should adhere to. These records will normally be requested by HMRC during a VAT inspection and will form the basis of the information that is included on the VAT return. The books and records maintained by the business must be kept up to date and made available if reasonably requested by HMRC. The books and records must be kept in a format which enables HMRC to easily check to the figures used to complete the VAT return.

Required VAT records

Businesses are legally required to keep the following records.

VATA 1994, Sch 11, para 6; SI 1995/2518, regs 31(1), 32; VAT Notice 700/21: keeping VAT records ; CH12000; De Voil Indirect Tax Service V5.201 (subscription sensitive)
VAT account

The VAT account is the link between the business records and the amounts included on the VAT return. It can also be referred to as a VAT summary. There is no prescribed format that must be used when preparing a VAT account; however, it must contain the following information:

  • total output tax due on sales split between standard-rated and reduced-rated sales
  • total output tax due on purchases of goods from other EU countries (acquisition tax) ― see the Buying goods from other EU vendors guidance note for more information
  • total VAT due under the reverse charge on the purchase of services from overseas vendors ― see the Supplies of reverse charge services (general rule) guidance note for more information
  • purchases of goods / services where the customer is required to account for the domestic reverse charge (eg certain supplies of gold, mobile phones, wholesale supplies of gas, electricity and electronic communications and

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