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What Documents to Keep for your Tax Return

What Documents to Keep for your Tax Return

If you’ve just become self-employed then you’re likely going through the motions of finding out about your self-assessment tax return. I’ve been there myself and know how daunting it is – I feel your pain!

There is much information out there about tax returns for first-time self employed people however I have not found one good resource on just the simple fact of exactly what documents you must keep in order to complete your self-assessment tax return each year, and this is what this blog is all about. Below I’ve simply put a list of all the documentation you must keep whilst self-employed and I’ve broken it down in terms of ‘if you gain income from this…then you must keep this document’.

This goes without saying but you must keep documents of everything and anything in regards to your business, whether it’s simple receipts of purchase right up to insurance documents. The reason for this is twofold:

Firstly, many aspects of your self-assessment tax return rely on the information provided from these documents so you will need them to successfully complete your tax return. There is nothing worse than coming to complete your return and going…”oh dear, I know I have that information somewhere…I just don’t know where!” – so be sure to file all documents easily for quick reference.

Secondly, you must keep all documentation for up to 6 years just in case the HMRC ever need to investigate you, in which case you MUST be able to supply them with all the documentation they need or you will be fined and much worse.

So without further adieu here are all the documents you’ll need to keep for your tax return each year:


Income Items
If you earn this You must keep this
Salary/Wages P60
Notice of coding
Benefits in Kind
e.g. Company Car, Medical Insurance
State Benefits
Statements of payments to you from the DSS
State and/or other
Statement of pension payments by the DSS or Pension Fund
Share Options
Share option documents from your employer
Other Earnings
e.g. Tips, Commissions
Relevant vouchers or documents
Expenses not reimbursed by your employer
Expense receipts or voucehers
Self-employment & Partnerships
Financial statements from Self-Employment and/or Partnership
Savings & Deposit Accounts
Banks, Building Societies & National Savings
Interest Certificates
Interest Certificates
Interest Details
Share Holdings
Dividends & Unit Trusts
Dividend Vouchers
Unit Trust Vouchers
Other Sources
Relevant Vouchers
Land & Property
e.g. Lettings, Holiday Accomodation
Invoices and/or Receipts
Foreign Income Documentation
Trusts & Settlements
Trust Tax Vouchers
Royalty Income & Expenses
Expenditure Items
If you spent on this You must keep this
Mortgage or Loans Mortgage or Interest Statements
Vocational Training Training Papers
Charitable Covenants Deeds of Covenant
Gift Aid Gift Aid Details
Venture Capital Trust Shares VCT Certificates
Shares Contract Notes
Land & Property Completion Statements


So that’s everything in a nutshell really! As I said above, PLEASE keep everything that has to do with your business income and expenditure, no matter how small. Every little document will come in handy when completing your tax return or when helping the HMRC with an investigation.

I hope that all helps and if this has been of value to you then why not try my online course ‘How to Manage Your Accounts’ designed specifically for anyone wanting to get rid of those hefty accounting fees by learning how to take control of your own business accounts!

How to Manage Your Accounts - Online Course

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