Smarter accounting

How to register with HMRC as Self-Employed

3 January 2017, Advocates, Artists, Barristers, Creative Industries, Musicians, Sole Traders

Am I self-employed?

The first task in working out if you need to register with HMRC is to assess whether you are self-employed.  Here are the guidelines from HMRC:

You’re probably self-employed if you:

  • run your business for yourself and take responsibility for its success or failure
  • have several customers at the same time
  • can decide how, where and when you do your work
  • can hire other people at your own expense to help you or to do the work for you
  • provide the main items of equipment to do your work
  • are responsible for finishing any unsatisfactory work in your own time
  • charge an agreed fixed price for your work
  • sell goods or services to make a profit

If you’re still not sure what your employment status is you can use HMRC’s Employment Status Indicator or contact HMRC for advice.

If you need to register as self-employed, it is best to do this as soon as you start your business however the deadline for this is 5th October in the second year of operation.  The first year runs to 5th April (or 31st March).  This means is you started your business on 1st February 2016 you should have registered with HMRC by 5th October 2016.  If you started on 7th April 2016 you have until 5th October 2017 before any fines kick in.  In either case It if you haven’t already told HMRC, follow the instructions below to get started.

Government Gateway Account

All your taxes and state pension information are accessed from the Government Gateway.  To register as self-employed, you will need to Register as an Individual.  After providing your name, email address and a password, you will be issued with a Government Gateway ID.  Take a note of this long number when it is issued as you won’t get it again.  Using your Government Gateway ID and password.  You will receive a code through the post which will enable you to get full access to the Government Gateway account in a few days.  After completing the registration process you will be able log in to your personal account and add services.

Register with HMRC as Self-Employed

To complete your registration as self-employed with HMRC you will need the following information:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Start date of business
  • Business address (your home address is fine)
  • If you were previously registered for self-assessment tax returns – your Unique Tax Reference (UTR)

Register with HMRC as Self-Employed if you haven’t sent tax returns before

The online form for registering if you are new to HMRC shouldn’t take too long to complete, especially if you have already registered with the Government Gateway (see above).  You need to select:

  • I want to tell HMRC that I am in business and need to register for a new tax or tell HMRC that the company is now active

Follow the prompts and log in with your Government Gateway account until you reach the option to select

  • Self Assessment (including Class 2 National Insurance contributions)
  • Self-employed/Sole trader/Sole proprietor

Enter the date you started working for yourself.  Make a note of this as you will need it for your first tax return.

Continue through the online form adding the remaining information.  Although you will be set up for self-assessment, you need a code from HMRC to activate the account.  When this code arrives log in to the Government Gateway and enter this.

Register with HMRC as Self-Employed if you’ve sent tax returns before

If you have previously registered with HMRC, there is a different form you can complete online.  If you previously had a Unique Tax Reference (UTR) enter the 10 digit number where indicated.  You will be asked for the date your self-employment started, take a note of this as you will need this information for your first tax return.

You will receive a code in the post from HMRC to activate the service on your Government Gateway account.  When the code arrives through the post, log back in to the Government Gateway to complete the process.

How to manage your tax account

To manage your tax account, you will need to log in to the HMRC website using your Government Gateway ID and password.  You can submit your tax return online and also appoint an accountant as your agent from this website in the “About You” section.

Appoint an accountant as your agent

The quickest way of appointing an accountant is through the HMRC site and normally takes effect within a few hours, but don’t leave it to the last minute.  Agents get very busy as the tax deadline approaches.  To add an agent, you will need their unique code (in the format AlterledgerL-ABC1DEF2GH34).  Alternatively you can use the online form, but this will need to be printed and posted to HMRC.  Agents can request authorisation online, but this requires a code to be issued to you through the post, which can go missing or be delayed.

HMRC is in the process of modernising the agent authorisation process, but it will be a while before this improved service is launched.

Get help with your tax return

The last tax year for personal tax ran from 6th April 2015 to 5th April 2016.  The deadline for filing your 2015-16 tax return is 31st January 2017.  If you would like help with your tax return please use the contact form below to get in touch.

Website by Haiwyre