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How to keep records for VAT purposes?

How businesses should keep, archive, and retrieve records?


Businesses are not required to keep their records in any specific way or format. But they must be kept in a suitable way that enables the FTA to easily check the validity of the data which has been used to complete a tax return.


Records must be readily available


Records can be kept on or off-premises, or even on the cloud. Each business can choose their own way to store their records, however, they are responsible to make those records available in a legible format and in a timely and efficient manner when requested by the FTA

Acceptable documents archiving methods:


Original documents

Electronic documents (soft format of originals or copies)

Photocopies of original documents

Other ways of recording and preserving the information or data contained in the original document.

For how long should records be kept?


VAT registered individual or business must keep the required records for a minimum of 5 years (15 years for real estate owners) after the end of the tax period to which those records relate.


However, the FTA may require the person to retain the records for further periods not exceeding 4 more years is specific cases like an ongoing dispute with the FTA or a tax audit.

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