What do I need to do when I start a business?
If you’re self-employed, you are responsible for paying your own tax and National Insurance contributions. You’ll need to keep business records and details of your income so you can fill in an annual Self Assessment tax return. You may also need to register for VAT.
Do I also need to register as self-employed with HMRC?
It’s important to let HMRC know that you’re self-employed as soon as possible – even if you already fill in a tax return each year. If you don’t tell them as soon as you begin self employment you may also incur penalties.
You can let HMRC know about your new self-employment by registering online for business taxes. You’ll be asked for information about yourself and your business. HMRC will set up tax records for you using the information you provide, for example:
- Self Assessment
- National Insurance
- PAYE if you have people working for you
A Self Assessment Online account will be set up for you automatically at the same time.
What National Insurance contributions do I pay?
If you’re self-employed you normally have to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions. If your annual profits are over a certain amount you also pay Class 4 contributions. In certain circumstances you may be exempt from paying.
Do I need to register for VAT?
If your business turnover is more than the VAT threshold (see HMRC website for current threshold) you’ll normally have to register for VAT. Even if your turnover’s below the threshold it might benefit your business to register voluntarily.
You can register for VAT if you’re in business and you are one of these
- an individual
- a partnership
- a company
- a club
- an association
- a charity
- any other organisation or group of people acting together under a particular name, such as an educational or health institution, exhibition, conference, etc
- a trust
- a Local Authority
For VAT purposes, the individual or organisation that is in business is known as a ‘taxable person’.