Deciding what you should keep in your business archives can be a tricky business, but for some helpful advice we’ve put together a few helpful pointers to make business archiving more straightforward.

As a business operating in the UK it’s incredibly important to retain certain paperwork relating to business transaction and accounts as a legal requirement, because at any point HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can request to see it.

Naturally this documentation can take up a lot of time and space, but with an effective business document archives system in place and knowing what you should keep, can help you stay on top of everything. This is where our guide on what sort of documents you should keep in business archives can help.

Company Records and Personal Data

With most businesses there will be a certain level of personal information relating to customers and employees that needs to be stored correctly to ensure you’re in line with the Data Protection Laws. Anything that contains personal information should be placed in secure business archives and stored up to 6 years.

Value Added Tax (VAT) Records

By law, VAT records should be kept for a minimum of 6 years and to ensure you have all the relevant records available, it’s a good idea to put them into your business archive in a systematic filing system such as a document management system.

Company Tax Documentation

The ideal place for your company tax records for at least the past 6 years, is to put them into a business document archives system. That way you can have all the relevant paperwork available should you need to prove to HMRC that you’ve paid sufficient tax.

PAYE Records

PAYE records can also be stored in your business archive to ensure you have adequate records to provide to HRMC if they need it. Whilst you don’t legally need to keep hold of this information, it’s good business practice to at least keep it for 3 years.

Business Insurance

All UK businesses should have an up to date Employers Liability Insurance Policy certificate, and keep comprehensive records of all previous insurance policies that pertain to the business. This will ensure that any future claims on their liability insurance can be met.

Grants or Loans

As a business you may have been subject to government grants or taken out a business loan, in which case you should keep records of all past and present documentation in your business archives to ensure it is safely and securely stored away. This information should be retained for at least five years after the activity or repayment of the loan.


In addition to any VAT and Company Tax records, any other paperwork that relates to accounting, should also be put into your business archive. That way should you need it, you can demonstrate the trail of business transactions, payments or such accordingly.

In summary, anything that pertains to business transactions, accounting or contains confidential information is best securely stored in a business archive, such as off-site self-storage facilities.