Deciding to set up business on your own is a big step, and one you’ll hopefully enjoy. When you first set your business up there is so much to do, but the first thing you must do is register yourself as self-employed.

Why register as self-employed?

When you are employed by someone else, they are responsible for your income tax, national insurance, sick pay and any other payments you need to make or receive. You simply receive your salary at the end of every week or month with all the deductions already taken.

Being self-employed means that you are responsible for your own tax and national insurance payments. It also means that you can off-set your tax allowance with your business expenses. You cannot do this if you are employed.

When to register as self-employed

As soon as you have your name, your idea and you’re looking for your first customer – that’s the time to register.

Don’t wait until you have a customer base or have made your first sale. When you first set up your business you will have a lot of expenses. If you register too late, you won’t be able to off-set these expenses for your first year of business. HMRC do allow you some breathing space, but if you register straight away, you can relax knowing that it’s all done and you’re ready to trade. As of August 2017, you have until October 5th of your 2nd tax year to register your business, but as this can cause you confusion with your tax returns, it’s far better to register earlier.

How to register as self-employed

  • Register online. If you want to register online, just go here and enter your details. You will then receive a letter in the post which confirms you have registered and it will also give you your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). Keep a note of this as you will need it for your tax returns.
  • Register by post. You can also complete a form which can be sent in the post. You can download the right form from their website
  • Register by phone. You may want some advice about registering, so you can also phone and speak to someone. As of August 2017 the number to call from the UK is 0300 200 3500. This gives you the chance to ask any questions you may have about registering and what you need to do once you have.

What information do you need to become self-employed

To register you don’t need lots of information. Just your name, company name, company address and national insurance number to start with.

Remember to keep all invoices from the date you start your business, as you will need these when you come to do your accounts. More information about registering as self-employed is on the HMRC website.


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