HMRC used to only accept hard copies of original documentation, however software has made it possible for HMRC to accept scanned electronic copies of original documents.
There are a few cases in which documentation will need to be submitted in its original format, for example bank interest certificates and dividend vouchers; these are documents that show tax that isn’t VAT. If the original document is already in an electronic format (such as PDF) then you can submit that.
We are all for electronic copies of receipts and paperwork, as it’s a huge time saver. Below are the rules from HMRC:
Keep a back-up of your paperwork for six years after your year-end – putting your paperwork into cloud software means that it will not get lost.
Keeping your records for longer applies if your business purchase is expected to last longer than 6 years, your Company Tax Return is filed late or if a transaction covers more than one of the business’ accounting periods.
Any scanned documents should be clear enough so that they can be read.
Your cloud based software will enable you to keep an organised filing system, which HMRC expect. If you receive a visit from a HMRC visiting inspector and your records are unkempt, you could be fined £3,000. If the case is extreme, you may be stripped of your role as director, so it really is important to organise your accounting records.
At All Seasons Accountants, we put our clients on cloud based systems and they have never looked back!
The information provided in this guide is correct at the time of publication. This is general information and not meant to be relied on unless we provide specific tailored advice to you in writing.