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VAT Records: Simple Breakdown of all you need to know

Nov 14, 2022 | European VAT

All About VAT Records: What You Need To Know

Your business is valuable. Record keeping is an essential aspect of business functions. All the tax records and the VAT records hold an important fiscal value that allows business functions to operate without hindrance. Therefore, you need to know the records you need to secure. This guidance clarifies the confusion by elaborating on every aspect. 

VAT Records – Importance

VAT is included in the list of all accounting procedures associated with business functions. Every VAT-registered business is required to charge and pay VAT, known as Output and Input VAT, respectively.

For this purpose, it is important to keep the important records that hold significant fiscal value so they can be included in the VAT Return document. Only the proper and valid records shall allow the business to reclaim VAT and receive the amount fairly.

VAT Records – What You Must Keep

According to the UK VAT regulations, there are important records associated with the VAT amount that you are required to keep to prove your statement’s validity.

There are two types of records that you are required to keep as evidence of your VAT transactions. These are the special records for VAT and the Business records as termed by the UK government.

Special Records for VAT

The special tax records for VAT include two important documents that the businesses must keep as proof of input and output VAT. One of these documents is the VAT account. A VAT account is a link that exists between all the business records and the VAT Return.

The other important document is the VAT Invoice. It is an invoice document that consists of important details laid by the government laws.

These details are documented according to three VAT invoice structures namely simplified modified, and full. According to its very type, the invoice document provides information on VAT related to the items, seller, and recipient.

Business Records

In addition to the special VAT records, the UK government has advised keeping the business records as part of the VAT records. Here is a list of the common business records required by you to keep and produce before the HMRC when asked. 

  • All the annual accounts.
  • The bank statements, debit and credit notes, and all the account books. 
  • Documents for import, export, order, and delivery.
  • Books and invoices for purchase and sales. 
  • Daily taking records.
  • Documents for special VAT treatment.

Moreover, the businesses registered in Northern Ireland are required to present the documents associated with the sales and purchases made with the EU businesses.

Also, all the records of sales and purchases that existed between Great Britain and the EU before Brexit must also be included. 

VAT Records – Procedure

The duration of keeping all the VAT records is six years as marked mandatory by the UK VAT laws. Moreover, other tax records might be needed to be kept for further extended periods in time.

However, the UK government provides relaxation for the businesses that are likely to face issues keeping the records for extended periods of time. 

Such business entities are provided with an option to consult with the VAT general inquiries office so that they may receive approval or allowance for keeping the records for a comparatively shorter period of time. 

The VAT records can be saved electronically. There are no specific laws for keeping records on an electronic device. However, there do exist some regulations related to issuing VAT invoices to clients through electronic media. 

VAT Records – VAT Invoice

As mentioned previously, there are three types of VAT invoices. For the sales amount smaller than £250, a simplified invoice is required to be issued. If the amount exceeds the stated one, a business must issue a full or modified invoice. This regulation is similar for businesses that are retailers or non-retailers. Moreover, there is no requirement to issue invoices to unregistered clients. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a VAT Return document?

    VAT Return is a form that includes the VAT records, including all VAT invoices. This document is sent to the HM Customs and Revenue department after the accounting period. It includes the details of input and output VAT. If you are looking for expert guidance and assistance, then we might be all you need. At Sterlinx, we manage your accounting matters, including VAT, for your business’s prosperity. 

  • What is the accounting period for UK VAT?

    The accounting period for UK VAT has been set to 3 months by the government of the UK. 

  • What is the deadline for submission of the VAT return?

    The deadline for submitting your return online is usually one calendar month and seven days after the end of an accounting period.


The blog elaborated on all the necessary documents associated with VAT. These are the special VAT and business records that a business entity must keep for at least six years.

However, there exists a possibility for exception upon application of a request. In the case of VAT Invoices, the laws instruct the responsible stakeholders to issue invoices according to the established criteria. 

We at Sterlinx skillfully and efficiently assist with all accounting and eCommerce matters. We value your business and understand the importance of your time and attention.

We provide you with an opportunity to focus on your important affairs while we manage your VAT and accounting matters. 

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