News

Paperless Office - HM Revenue & Customs Companies Act 2006

Where and for how long records to be kept:

(a) in the case of a private company, for three years from the date on which they are made;
(b) in the case of a public company, for six years from the date on which they are made.

Record Keeping: How records may be preserved:

A person fulfils their obligation to preserve records by

  • retaining the original documents, or
  • preserving the information contained in the original documents

If a person preserves the information contained in paper records on computer by transferring the information into an electronic form, they may discard the paper provided that the method of storage used is capable of

  • capturing all the information needed to make a correct and complete return, and
  • reproducing that information in a legible form.

If the method cannot do these things, the person must also retain the original documentation.

Record Keeping: How records may be preserved: Computer records

A person may fulfil their duty to keep records by preserving the information contained in them. This provision was originally introduced with computer records in mind. Where records are kept on computer, the records can include:

  • retaining the original documents, or
  • preserving the information contained in the original documents.

If a person preserves the information contained in paper records on computer by transferring the information into an electronic form, they may discard the paper provided that the method of storage used is capable of

  • the actual computer or server, including an internal hard drive system
  • an external storage device holding backed-up information or scans, such as a hard drive, magnetic tape, flash drive, memory stick, optical disk, CD, DVD or floppy disk.

Backed up information may be accessed remotely or online.

It will still be necessary to keep the original documents that actually record the sales, purchases and other expenses, and so on, unless those original documents have been copied in a way that provides an exact replica. This includes copies on computer-based optical imaging systems, provided the images are full and complete copies (including any valuable information on the reverse) that can be reproduced in a legible form.

Preserving documents in this way will satisfy the requirement to preserve records and produce documents, for example from long-term storage.

Back to news...