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1. General
A VAT-registered person must keep full and true records of all business transactions which affect or may affect his or her liability to VAT and entitlement to deductibility. The records must be kept up to date and must be sufficiently detailed to enable a trader to accurately calculate liability or repayment and also to enable Revenue to verify the veracity of the underlying transactions if necessary. Advice on record-keeping is available from the local Revenue Office.

2. Records of purchases
The records should show the date of the purchase invoice and a consecutive number (in the order in which the invoices are filed), the name of the supplier, the cost exclusive of VAT and amount of VAT shown. Purchases at each rate must be recorded separately. The same information should be recorded in respect of imports and intra-Community acquisitions.

3. Retention of records by accountable persons
An accountable person must retain all books, records and documents relevant to the business, including invoices, credit and debit notes, receipts, accounts, cash register tally rolls, vouchers, VIES and Intrastat returns, stamped copies of SAD’s and other import documents and bank statements. These business records must be preserved in their original form for six years from the date of the latest transaction to which they refer unless the written permission of the relevant Revenue Office has been obtained for their retention for a shorter period.

Invoices that have been issued in paper form must be retained in paper form. It is now no longer a requirement to retain the paper originals of any third party record where an electronic copy of the original record is generated, recorded and stored in accordance with the information technology and procedural requirements as published. See eBrief Retention of Electronic Records Copies of original invoices produced by microfilming or other copying process are not acceptable.

Records not stored electronically in accordance with SI No. 504 of 2004 and Section 887 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 i.e. paper records, must be stored within the State unless Revenue agrees otherwise, subject to conditions.

4. Retention of records by taxable persons
Persons who carry on business, even though they may not be accountable persons, must for VAT purposes keep all invoices issued to them in connection with the business and copies of customs entries in respect of goods imported.

5. Electronic invoicing and storage
A person who issues or receives electronic invoices etc. must retain and store them and related electronic records. In addition they must store details such as the form of encryption, electronic signature and details of the format in which they can be accessed.

6. Inspection of records
Authorised Revenue officers have extensive powers in regard to the inspection of records and failure by accountable persons or their employees or associates to co-operate with the officers is an offence. These officers will have proof of their identity. They may check the person’s VAT returns against their records and they may cross-check invoices against the suppliers’ and customers’ records. Returns for VAT may also be checked against the trading accounts submitted for other taxes. Failure to produce records on request by an authorised Revenue officer is an offence.