How Do I Register as Self Employed in the UK?


You can Register as Self Employed in the UK online and its 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.

Here’s the Link to HMRC to set up your Government Gateway Account and to start the registration process.

Who Needs to Register as Self Employed

Generally speaking anyone who earns UNTAXED income of more than £1,000 during a tax year (6th April to 5th April) needs to register. If you are unsure you can check whether you need to file a tax return here or by calling 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 that 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.  You may have no tax to pay due to your earnings, allowances and reliefs though.  But HMRC use self assessment to track your earnings to prove that you have no tax to pay.

If you have earned less than £1,000 you may be eligible to claim for the HMRC Trading Allowance. This means if your earnings before any allowable costs were less than £1,000 you don’t need to register as self employed or fill out a self assessment tax return.

Read More: HMRC £1,000 Trading Allowance

When Should You Register By

The Deadline To Register is by 5th October in your business’s second tax year.  There are penalties for missing this deadline, which can be up to 30% of your tax liability.

So if you earned income through self employment during the tax year 2016/2017 (6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017) then you need to apply for self employment by 5th October 2017.

But if you are in business, then I recommend you register straight away to avoid deadlines and a last minute rush.

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

Register as self employed

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.

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 is advisable you 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

Register as self employed

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 Your Successfully Register for Self Employment in the UK

When you are officially self employed you’ll need to complete a self assessment tax return.  A self assessment tax return form is due by 31 January each each, along with any tax due.

Find out more about the Self Assessment Tax Return Form, what it looks like and how to fill it in HERE.

Do I Have to File a Tax Return Even If I Made No Money?