Self Employed Tax

The tax regulations for the self-employed are similar to pay as you earn regulations (PAYE) in that you pay income tax and National Insurance on your earnings.

Being self-employed as a sole trader will mean completing a tax return each year and calculating your tax liability and paying it to HMRC the Inland Revenue like millions of others in the UK. The following is advice you can use, but it's best if you see a qualified accountant or speak to your tax office directly.

The day you start self-employed

If you're thinking about going self-employed, you're going to have to notify a few people other than your friends and family that this is what you intend to do. Unfortunately, the Government always wants it's slice of your income for tax and National Insurance and doesn't want any of that slipping away.

Whether you're doing extra work on the side while you still have a full-time job paying PAYE, or if you're going it completely alone, you need to inform the Inland Revenue of your intentions.

You need to send notification into the Inland Revenue no more than three months after the month you went self-employed. Usually this communication is the end of the matter at this stage because the IR just want to know what you're doing.

Find the tax office that currently services your PAYE and notify them. Failure to send in notification will get you a penalty and have you down as not abiding by the laws of the land. It's simple to do and only takes a few minutes so off you go.

Self-Employed Regulations

What regulations affect you? Starting and running a business means to have to comply with certain government regulations. You'll need to keep certain records and fill in forms as you progress. Here are some of the basic requirements your small business needs to know.

VAT regulations

It's your responsibility to register your business for VAT.

You must register for VAT if:

These rules also apply when you take over a business as a going concern (see Notice 700/9 Transfer of a business as a going concern). It doesn't matter whether the last owner was registered:

To register for VAT, you must complete Form VAT 1, which you must send to Customs and Excise within 30 days of any of the above.

If your business has a turnover below this threshold you can register voluntarily.

There can be a business advantage in doing this.

If you're considering voluntary registration you can get further information from the Customs and Excise National Advice Service Enquiry Line on Tel 0845 010 9000 or online at

PAYE regulations Tax and National Insurance

Self-Employed Tax calculatorPAYE (Pay As You Earn) is the Inland Revenue system for collecting income tax from the pay of employees, including directors, as they earn it. As an employer, you'll need to deduct income tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) from your employees' pay and submit the deductions to the Inland Revenue.

Many employers decide to use an outside supplier - usually an accountant - to run their payroll for them. An experienced accountant can tell you what systems and forms to use, making sure you don't miss out any essential steps.

Get a starter pack by calling the Inland Revenue New Employers Helpline on Tel 0845 60 70 143. The pack contains taxable pay tables and pay calculators, as well as all the essential forms and information.

Recommended Self-Employment Tax Websites

More information about going self-employed online can be found at the Inland Revenue site at and the HMRC self-employment special site at