Set up and register as self-employed

Checking your self-employment status

If your work comes from more than one source it is possible to be employed in one or more jobs - with your employer deducting tax and National Insurance - and self-employed in others.

If you're not sure whether your work counts as self-employment, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have the final say in how the business is run?
  • Do you risk your own money in the business?
  • Are you responsible for meeting the losses as well as taking the profits?
  • Do you provide the main items of equipment you need to do your job, not just the small tools many employees provide for themselves?
  • Are you free to hire other people on your own terms to do the work you have taken on? Do you pay them out of your own pocket?
  • Do you have to correct unsatisfactory work in your own time and at your own expense?

If you answer 'yes' to most of these questions then you are probably self-employed already. To find out how to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about your self employment, see the page in this guide on registering for tax and National Insurance.

The latest you can register with HMRC is 5 October after the tax year for which you need to submit a Self Assessment tax return - for example 5 October 2011 for the 2010-11 tax year. If you register late, you may be charged a penalty.

To better understand your employment status, use the employment status indicator on the HMRC website.

Subjects covered in this guide


HM Revenue & Customs

HMRC Newly Self-Employed Helpline

0845 915 4515


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