Keeping Receipts and Invoices Safe

Claiming expenses is one of the perks available to the self employed. However it is important to ensure that you are meeting HMRC requirements. 

It may be time to focus on storing receipts and invoices electronically to safeguard them long-term. HMRC has guidelines and requirements for submitting and storing your paperwork electronically, so ensuring you’ve met the standards they’ve outlined will undoubtedly help you in the event of a HMRC investigation.

Why should I store receipts and invoices electronically? 

Over time, physical documents can easily be lost. HMRC holds the right to audit your claims retrospectively for up to 20 years (in the case of fraud or criminal activity); ordinarily, you’re required to retain proof of expenditure for 6 years. As receipts and invoices fade over time, scanning them in and electronically storing them will ensure you have required documents in a format that HMRC can read.  

Furthermore, scanning and storing receipts digitally makes the process far easier for you.

It may take a bit of getting used to, but once you’re in the swing of things, you could ditch that boxfile/shoebox  you’ve used all year and rather scan and store your receipts as you go along. 

HMRCs requirements for digital invoices and receipts 

Government-published conditions for electronic storage state that:

For scanned paper invoices “You may store what were originally paper VAT records in an electronic format as long as you can meet the requirements explained in this notice for ensuring authenticity, integrity and legibility. Authenticity and integrity must be maintained during the conversion process as well as during storage.”

At Brian Alfred, we’re experts in all things tax. To find out how we can help, give our team a call on 0800 464 0358 or email