How to register as self-employed in the UK

Written by jessica cameron Google
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How to register as self-employed in the UK
You'll need to register as a sole trader before you open your business. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Once you have decided to become self-employed, you will need to register as a sole trader with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). You can complete this registration online. As a sole trader, you will be responsible for paying your own income taxes and National Insurance contributions.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • National Insurance number (NINo)
  • Name for your business: you can use your own name or choose a business name
  • Your contact details, both personal and for the business
  • Date you began (or will begin) trading

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    Register with HMRC Taxes

  1. 1

    Use the HMRC Taxes registration link to begin your registration as a new business (see resources).

    This process will also prompt you to create a Government Gateway account and a Self Assessment online account. You will need to have both of these accounts to pay your taxes and National Insurance every year.

  2. 2

    Create your Government Gateway account when prompted (or login to your account if you already have one). Be sure to make a note of the User ID you are given, because you will need it to complete your registration.

  3. 3

    Register for "Self Assessment (including Class 2 National Insurance contributions)."

  4. 4

    Choose "Self-employed/Sole trader/Sole proprietor" as your business type.

  5. 5

    Enter the date you began (or will begin) working for yourself.

  6. 6

    Complete the registration form with your personal details and business details, including your name, business name, and contact information.

  7. 7

    Submit your registration.

    After you register online

  1. 1

    Apply for a National Insurance contribution exemption if you expect your earnings to be low (for the form see Resources, 2).

  2. 2

    Wait for HMRC to send you a ten digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number.

  3. 3

    Keep your UTR number in a safe place, because you will need it when you complete your Self Assessment tax returns and if you need to contact HMRC for any reason. Congratulations – you are now a registered sole trader in the UK!

Tips and warnings

  • 1. Timing. To avoid penalties, you need to register your business with HMRC within three months of when you begin trading.
  • 2. VAT. Keep in mind that if your annual turnover is over a certain amount, you will need to pay VAT. You can register for VAT at the same time that you register with HMRC Taxes - but you do not need to register until your turnover reaches this limit.

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