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Tax Advice for Self-Employed Cleaners

Being a self-employed Cleaner brings with it certain legal responsibilities.  If self-employment is new to you, it can be difficult to know where to start and what it all means.

Here I show you how to get started as self-employed and unravel some of the confusion around taxes and bookkeeping.

What is Self-Employment

Self-employment means that you work for yourself rather than for someone else. This means you:

  • Are responsible for finding your own work, no one is obligated to guarantee you with work;
  • Need to collect payments from your customers;
  • Buy your own cleaning products and equipment;
  • Will not receive sick pay or holiday pay, so you will go without earnings during these times;
  • Need to register as self-employed, work out your own taxes and send a tax return to HMRC.

Being self-employed doesn’t restrict you to just working for just one person.  It means you can for as many people as you can handle. Or you can even hold down a full time job while work as a self employed cleaner on the side.

What Taxes Do Self-Employed Cleaners Pay

If you earn more than £1,000 in untaxed income, then you’ll need to register with HMRC, declare your earnings and pay taxes.

If you earn less than £1,000 you may be able to take advantage of the HMRC Trading Allowance meaning you don’t need to register with HMRC or pay tax on it.

Self-employed individuals pay the following taxes:

  • Income tax;
  • Class 2 national insurance;
  • Class 4 national insurance.

The amount of tax you pay depends on how much you earn as a self-employed cleaner.

Earnings mean all your income less all your expenses.

Want to learn more about how to estimate your taxes? Read this post on Tax and National Insurance When You’re Self-Employed

How to Register as a Self-Employed Cleaner

You must register as self-employed by 5th October in the second tax year of becoming a self-employed Cleaner.

A tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April.

So if you became a self-employed Cleaner on 1 April 2019 then you would need to register by 5th October 2019.

How to Register as Self Employed Video Tutorial

Claiming Expenses as a Self-Employed Cleaner

Making sure you claim for all the expenses you are legally allowed to is the easiest way to reduce your tax bill.

HMRC has rules about which expenses you can claim for (allowable expenses) and those you can’t (disallowable expenses).

Allowable Expenses for Self-Employed Cleaners

In the main anything you need to pay for in relation to working as a Cleaner will be allowable or “tax deductible”.  

Here are some common examples of allowable expenses for self employed Cleaners:

  • Cleaning products and materials;
  • Business cards;
  • Marketing materials;
  • Agency fees;
  • Advertising;
  • Travel;
  • Mileage
  • Branded uniforms;
  • Insurance;
  • Accountants fees;
  • Bank charges for a business account.

There may be expenses you pay for that you use personally, like your mobile phone. In these cases, you can only claim a portion against your taxes.

So if you use your mobile phone for 60% work and 40% personal, then you take 60% of the total costs to put against your taxes.

Disallowable Expenses for Self-Employed Cleaners

After years of people pushing the boundaries and claiming for some questionable expenses, HMRC have a growing list of expenses that are disallowable.

Here are some common examples of disallowable expenses for Self Employed Cleaners:

Bookkeeping and Record-Keeping for Self-Employed Cleaners

The key to reducing your tax bill is to stay on top of your bookkeeping and making sure you track all your expenses.

You’ll also need to make sure you keep all your receipts support all the expenses you want to claim, as well as details of what you have been paid.

The easiest way to handle your bookkeeping and record-keeping when you’re self-employed is to:

  1. Open up a separate bank account for yourself and set this to send/receive any payments. That way when tax time comes you has a record of everything that has happened.  
  2. Save all your receipts and reports using a bookkeeping app.

Quickbooks is a great option for self-employed people since you can photograph and store your expenses on the go, as well as using the app to automatically track your business mileage.

Updated 2 April 2019

Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of www.goselfemployed.co - a UK small business finance blog where she shares help and advice with the self-employed community to make topics like registering a business, bookkeeping and taxes easy to understand.