Self-employment can be a straightforward way to start up in business. Read practical information about self-employment status, taxes and tax planning.

Self-employment - overview

Being self-employed as a sole trader can be a straightforward way to be in business - but you need to comply with your tax obligations. Our guide.

Man in white shirt using a laptop to do a business tax plan

Business tax planning

Effective tax planning is essential if you are to minimise your tax bills. Simple tax planning can significantly reduce your tax liabilities.

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Employment status

Many businesses start out as part-time jobs or hobbies that develop into a business. It's possible to be employed and self-employed simultaneously.

A couple plan their tax affairs with a financial adviser

Personal tax planning and income tax

Tax planning can make a significant difference to the tax you pay. You should take advantage of any opportunities to minimise your tax bill.

Using a calculator - Tax and National Insurance

Tax and National Insurance

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

HM Revenue & Customs form with pound coins

Who needs a unique tax payer reference (UTR)?

If you don’t have a Unique Tax Payer Reference (UTR), you won’t be able to file your Self Assessment tax return - which could lead to some heavy fines. Here's how to get your UTR.

A self employed woman sorts through her expenses and receipts

Record keeping for sole traders

Keeping records of your expenses and receipts might be daunting if you're newly self employed. This guide talks you through the expenses you can claim and the records you must keep for HMRC.

A female business owner looking over her business expenses

Using simplified expenses

Tool to help self-employed businesses use fixed rates (‘Simplified Expenses’) to calculate how much to claim with mixed business and private use.

Tax saving on a calculator - What are the best ways to save tax?

What are the best ways to save tax?

Effective tax planning is the best way to reduce tax liabilities. That means planning in advance from business start up through to eventual exit.

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Expenses for hairdressers and barbers

What expenses can hairdressers and barbers claim for? Here's a summary of allowable expenses that they might claim on their self-assessment tax return.

Man in a suit and glasses sat down with tax bills and a laptop at the desk

Five ways to keep your tax bills low

Frustrated that a big slice of your profits goes to the taxman? Ben Dyer explains how to (legally and ethically) minimise how much tax you pay.

Builder registering as a sole trader

Register as a sole trader

Sole traders must register with HMRC when they start trading and set up a personal tax account.

A man pops his head up below the work taxes on a blackboard

Q&A: Tax for the self-employed

When you become self-employed you become responsible for your own tax and NI. You'll need to know what and how much tax to pay and when.