How to Register as Self-Employed in the UK


You can register as self-employed in the UK online and it’s simple enough to do yourself. 

You need to complete a form online but the form you use depends on whether you have sent in a self assessment tax return before.

Who Needs to Register as Self-Employed?

If you earn a less than £1,000 from something like Etsy, baby sitting or car boot sales then you do not need to register as self-employed or complete a tax return. This is known as the HMRC Trading Allowance.

If you earn untaxed income of more than £1,000 during a tax year (6th April to 5th April) then you must register as self-employed.

If you are unsure you can check whether you need to file a tax return here or call HMRC on 0300 200 3310.

There is a common misconception that just because people have not made any profit or have earned less than the personal allowance, they do not need to let HMRC know. This is incorrect.

You must always let HMRC know that you are in business, regardless of what you make.  And even if you have no tax to pay due to your earnings, allowances and reliefs.

HMRC use the self-assessment tax return form to track your earnings and it is your evidence that you have no tax to pay.

When Do You Need to Register as Self-Employed?

The deadline to register as self-employed is the 5th October in your business’s second tax year.  

The tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April.

There are penalties for missing this deadline, which can be up to 30% of your tax liability.

So if you became self-employed on 1 November 2018 then you’ll need to register by 5 October 2019.

How to Register as Self-Employed in the UK if you have not submitted a Tax Return before

You can register as self-employed in the UK online HERE.

You need to fill out the form giving information about yourself (including your NI number), your business and when you went into business.

Here’s the Link to HMRC to set up your Government Gateway Account and to start the registration process and my video guide:

As part of the process you’ll be asked to register for a Government Gateway Account.  A government gateway is your HMRC online account where you get:

  • notifications & reminders from HMRC;
  • messages from HMRC;
  • access to file your self-assessment tax return online.

Everyone needs to file their self-assessment tax return online, expect in really special circumstances.  So make sure you hold onto your Government Gateway login and password safely.

The process to register as self-employed in the UK can take up to 7 -10 days. An activation code will be posted to you which completes the process.

It’s best to apply for self-employment as soon as possible. That way you will be ready to submit your first personal tax return by 31 January and avoid penalties.

Once you successfully register for self-employment you’ll be sent a UTR (‘Unique Tax Payers Reference’) Number by post.  This is a 10 digit number unique to you and is important so keep it safe.

How to Register as Self-Employed in the UK if you have Submitted a Personal Tax Return Previously

If you already submit a self-assessment tax return for another reason then you need to complete a CWF1. Again you can do this online here.

You’ll need to provide details about your self-employment and you’ll need your UTR number too.

Here’s how you can find your UTR number online.

What Happens Once You Successfully Register as Self-Employed in the UK

Once you go self-employed you are responsible for: