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HMRC Rules for Electronic Invoices

Rules for storing electronic invoices

As with paper, you need to keep proper records of all electronic invoices you send and receive for six years. If you upgrade to a new computer system which is not compatible with your old system, you must make sure that the records held on your old system remain accessible for up to six years. If this is not possible, then you must make paper copies.

You can also keep your records on microfilm or microfiche, as long as you have received approval from HMRC and it is easy for VAT officers to view those records when they need to.

You need to store your invoice data securely in a way that allows you to:

  • keep all original invoice data
  • prevent data from being corrupted
  • reproduce original invoices at any time in a readable format
  • find details of any invoice quickly and easily

At the very least, you should consider password-controlled access to your invoice data, and taking regular backups - and checking that you can recover from backup reliably.

These requirements also apply if you store scanned images of paper invoices electronically.

You can store electronic invoices in any EU country as long as you can produce anything HMRC asks for reasonably quickly and in a readable format. You could keep them in a non-EU country as long as it respects European data protection rules and you can still produce them for HMRC within a reasonable time and in a readable format.

For more information go to the HMRC website: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/managing/charging/e-invoices.htm