Being self-employed means that you are classified by HMRC as a sole trader; there is inherent risk in being a sole trader since there are personal financial risks and a possibility that you might have to pay debts if the business fails. Even with the risk, there are still advantages to self-trading status, but if there is the possibility that substantial debts could arise, it would be beneficial to consider the protections that a limited company status can offer. But nine times out of ten becoming a sole trader is most suitable.

Whats the Process to become Self-Employed

If you start working for yourself, you’re classified as a self-employed sole trader and what follows will show you how to register as a self-employed person with HM Revenue and Customs. If you’re setting up a partnership or limited company, then please refer to the guidance on the website which will tell you what you need to do.

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When you start working for yourself, you must register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs this is to make sure you paid the right amount of income tax and national insurance.

When do you need to register?

You should register as soon as you can after starting a business; this will be when you start to market your business such as issuing business cards are placing an advert in the local press or when you have goods or services to sell and have a customer. For example buying stuff to sell or an eBay sale that was a one-off which is now becoming more regular. You should register on whichever date is the earlier at the latest you should register by 5th of October in your business is second tax year, for example, if you start your business between April 2015 and March 2016 then you should register before 5th of October 2016

How do you let HMRC know you’re working for yourself?

If you haven’t sent self-assessment tax returns before, you can register online start by going to the website. If you have sent self-assessment tax returns before you’ll need to complete form cwf1
register as self employed

What happens when you register?

If you haven’t sent tax returns to HMRC will set up an online account and register you for self-assessment. You’ll then be able to do your tax returns online; you’ll be given a unique taxpayer reference number for UTR which you’ll need if you have to contact HMRC. It will be shown on any documents you get from HMRC. You’ll be registered for Class 2 National Insurance contributions, and you can register for VAT and other business taxes if you need to

How long will it take to register your business

Please allow ten working days to complete the registration process. HMRC will post an activation code to you which you’ll need when you first log in to your online account, also known as a Government Gateway account. When you work for yourself you are responsible for paying income tax on your profits and National Insurance contributions as I mentioned earlier you’ll be registered for Class 2 National Insurance when you register your business.Class 2 contributions are calculated using a flat weekly rate and class 4 contributions are paid annually as a percentage of your taxable profits. Usually your pay Class 2 and class 4 contributions through self-assessment along with your tax.

Which is Best – Sole Trader or Limited Company?

Limited company or Sole trader
There is more administration at the beginning in order to create a limited company than there is to register as a sole trader. There is also a requirement of registering a limited company at the Companies House. Many sole traders remain as such until the need arises for them to take on employees, being able to quickly register as a limited company when necessary and not take the time to do so before.

If you choose to be a sole trader you must register with HMRC or risk paying fines of up to 100% of the tax due as well as the amount unpaid. The number of hours a sole trader works is not important in this regard as all sole traders must register regardless of the time they spend in the job. Even if you have another full-time PAYE job and are only just entering the sole trader market, you will still need to register this with HMRC, who offers a Newly Self Employed Helpline on 0300 200 3504. The process is easy and you will need to have a few key facts to hand, such as your National Insurance number, name and type of business, whether it’s a partnership or if you work alone, and when you started. You can also download the form ‘Becoming self-employed and register for NIC and/or tax’, fill it out and post it to the National Insurance Contribution Office.

National Insurance Requirements for a Sole Trader

A sole trader has to pay income tax on all of their business profits by filling in a self-assessed tax return each year, detailing income and expenses. A flat rate Class 2 NIC contribution of £2.80 must be paid as well, and are payable at the point the tax form is filed. If you make more than £8,060 you will owe tax of 11% above this amount for the 2017/2018 year, which is also paid when your income tax is calculated and filed. You have a requirement of keeping a detailed financial record for your business with proof of any expenses that you claim by way of a receipt or invoice. If you have employees you also have to collect income tax and NIC from your employees and pay them to HMRC on their behalf through the Pay as Your Earn (PAYE) payment scheme. If you will have a turnover greater than £83,000 per year you also have to register for VAT and charge customers for it on every transaction. If you are VAT registered you will be able to reclaim the VAT that you pay to suppliers.

How to register as a sole trader