VAT record keeping requirements

Produced by Tolley

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

  • VAT record keeping requirements
  • Required VAT records
  • VAT account
  • VAT invoices
  • Making Tax Digital (MTD)
  • Other business records
  • One-Stop-Shop
  • Online marketplaces and fulfilment houses
  • Record retention period
  • Storage methods
  • More...

VAT record keeping requirements

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.

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:

  1. total output tax due on sales split between standard-rated and reduced-rated sales

  2. total output tax due on purchases of goods in Northern Ireland from EU member states (acquisition tax)

  3. total VAT due under the reverse charge on the purchase of services from overseas vendors ― see the Reverse charge ― buying in services from outside the UK guidance note for more information

  4. 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 carbon emissions, etc). Please see the Domestic reverse charge ― mobile phones and computer chips and other notes in the anti-avoidance reverse charge subtopic for more information.

  5. any output tax errors or adjustments that need to be included on the current VAT return ― see the Correcting errors guidance note for more information

  6. total amount of input tax recoverable on goods and services purchased by the business ― see the Claiming input tax

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