Deciding to be self-employed can be a hugely important step, and it is one that many people will look on as the best decision they made in their careers. So you right now may be a ball of emotions, your ideas and plans must seem very exciting! This enthusiasm is great, and will serve your business well.
Let’s just come down to earth for one second and talk about the first step you need to take in your self-employment journey. You will firstly need to register for self-employment. What does this mean? How can you do it? What things should you keep in mind?
Right now, there might seem like a million and one things you need to sort out, but it is very important that you sort out your legal and tax issues first, then get on with the rest. Let’s guide you through it step by step.
What are you?
Don’t worry, this isn’t a philosophical question about your existence. It is, however an important question to ask yourself with regards to your legal status. Since you are now responsible for many more things such as business debts, expenses, potentially employees, you will need to answer this question.
With your business, there may be different classifications as to which legal term fits you best. Sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership, etc. Look in to these different definitions, and decide what will work for you.
We are going to talk mostly about being a “sole trader” as this will fit most people.
You will need to go to the HMRC website. to register as self employed. Go to this site and follow the instructions. The term used for self-employment on the site is “self-assessment” this basically means that you are going to asses your own taxes once per year.
1) You may already have a “government gateway” account, and if this is the case you can start registering straight away. If you don’t have an account, then you will need to fill out your address, and in 10 days you will receive an activation code to your new government gateway account.
2) Using your new government gateway account you can now begin the process to register as self-employed UTR number . For this, you will need your national insurance number on hand, and all your usual personal info.
3) The site will present you with a form to fill in. It doesn’t take long, and is just your personal info, national insurance number, address, DOB etc. After filling this in, you will receive confirmation in the post after a couple of weeks.
National Insurance and details
– Something that you will automatically be registered for when you sign up as self-employed is national insurance contributions. You will be paying Class 2 national insurance automatically. This is just a few pounds per week, and is compulsory. There is more to national insurance, read about it here. https://www.gov.uk/national-insurance/how-much-you-pay
– Do you need to register for a VAT number? Only if your earnings are going to be more than £83,000 per year. You can do this later if you see this happening.
– If you are in the construction sector and work as a contractor, you will need to registers for a CIS (Construction Industry Scheme) also. Read about that here. https://www.gov.uk/what-you-must-do-as-a-cis-subcontractor/overview
Registering for self-employment is very easy. Following the above instructions will lead you the right way. Don’t forget that once per year, you now have the responsibility to submit your tax return through the government gateway.
Keep good records of your income and expenses, and your self-employed journey will be a very enjoyable and successful one.
Now that you have gotten all the paperwork out of the way, you are free to work on your business, worry free!