Understanding Self-Employment

The number of people becoming self-employed in the UK increased by over half a million between 2010 and 2015 (source: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) and after a tumultuous 2020 where Coronavirus changed the world forever, this trend will no doubt continue.

I know that a majority of us will agree that self-employment was a positive choice for so many reasons, not just financial! But whilst the joy of being an independent worker certainly seems to be at the heart of job satisfaction and a better overall life, what is often ignored, misunderstood and even feared is HMRC.

In this blog series, you’ll learn about the basic concepts you need to know when it comes to self-employment. You’ll find out about the rules you need to follow when it comes to registration, record keeping and tax returns so that by the end of the series you’ll know exactly what HMRC expect from you and what systems you need to manage your money and taxes.

There is a lot of information here so don’t forget to bookmark this page if you need to come back to it!

Section 1: Getting Started with Self-Employment

In the first part of this series, I start by breaking down the basics of registering with HMRC. In these guides, you’ll learn when self-employment registration becomes necessary and guidance on what forms you need to fill out so you can relax knowing you’ve done everything correctly.

1.1 What is Self-Employment?
1.2 When to Register as Self-Employed
1.3 How to Register as Self-Employed
1.4 How to Register as a CIS Contractor

Section 2: Taxes and National Insurance

In the next part of the series, we get into taxes and national insurance because once you’re registered as self-employed you’ll need to pay tax on your earnings. You won’t just learn about the types of tax you’ll have to pay, when you need to pay them and how to budget for them, you’ll also learn that taxes aren’t as confusing as you think.

2.1 Self-Employment Taxes Explained
2.2 Self Assessment Explained
2.3 Claiming Self Employed Expenses
2.4 Income Tax Allowances and Reliefs
2.5 How to Repay Your Student Loan When You’re Self-Employed
2.6 Tax Year Dates 2021

Section 3: Accounting and Bookkeeping

When you run a business, there are certain records that you are legally required to keep. I know some people find they end up drowning in paperwork and ignore their accounting until tax-time forces them to tackle it through gritted teeth. But it really doesn’t have to be this way, and you’ll find this way of handling things so stressful you might stop enjoying self-employment.

In this part of my series, I’ll introduce you to accounting and bookkeeping for small business owners showing you what you need to do, how to make it easier, and why ignoring the numbers in your business will be holding you back from growing.

3.1 Keeping Business Records If You’re Self-Employed
3.2 Accounting for Self-Employed Business Owners

Section 4: Tax Returns

The final part of DIY-ing your finances is to fill out your tax return form, submit it to HMRC and pay any tax you owe. To end, I’ll show you how to fill in your tax return online, what sections you need to include and where to find the numbers you need.

4.1 How to Fill in Your Tax Return Online
4.3 What Happens if You Miss the Self Assessment Deadline?
4.2 How to Pay Self Assessment Tax Through PAYE
4.3 Making Tax Digital

About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of www.goselfemployed.co - the UK small business finance blog for the self-employed community. Here she shares simple, straight-forward guides to make self-employment topics like taxes, bookkeeping and banking easy to understand.