Why not archive your trade documents with DataSpace?
All businesses are required to keep records of all traded goods, this includes stock and inventory information as well as financial and audit documents for a minimum of four years. You must be able to present these upon request to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as Officers need access to this information to verify claims and declarations you have made. If you’re VAT registered you must keep all records and accounts and/or if you’re importing or exporting you must declare any goods you move and keep appropriate trade documents.
The archiving period for your trade documents will vary according to the individual procedure. However, in the event of a criminal investigation, traders’ records dating back as long as ten years may be used as evidence.
Although a lot of trade is carried out electronically it’s still important to have an efficient system of record-keeping and to know how long to store trade documents. Any trade documents that are held on a computer system should have an audit trail – this means keeping a log of any amendments in the system.
It’s essential that you have a robust system for keeping trade documents. This will help you conform to international trade regulations and allow HMRC to carry out audits effectively. Your records must be:
- Exact and up to date
- easily reachable whether held on paper, computer, microfiche or microfilm
- Ready for inspection at all practical times
Make sure you:
- have the ability to download data for any off-site checks or audit work that HMRC officers might need to carry out
- have in place, and maintain adequate back up and disaster recovery systems
- include the computer system in your annual audit
- give advance notice to HMRC of any planned operating system changes
Civil penalties can be issued when repeated examples of poor record-keeping is present. Financial penalties are imposed under the Finance Act 2003. The size of the penalty is influenced by the level of co-operation given to investigating officers. However, if its officers suspect you’re hiding information that should be included in your VAT records they may secretly observe your business for up to a year before or after visiting you.
DataSpace UK Ltd offer the best document storage, we provide secure file storage, archive records storage, archive scanning and file scanning services to suit your needs.
If your record-keeping is causing storage problems or undue expense, Ring DataSpaceUK Ltd on 01606 331115 and we can help keep all your trade documents safe, secure and compliant.