Set up and register as self-employed

Registering for tax and National Insurance

You can let HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) know about your new self-employment by registering online for business taxes. HMRC will need to know information about yourself and your business to set up tax records for:

  • Self Assessment
  • National Insurance
  • PAYE if you have people working for you

A Self Assessment Online account will be set up for you automatically at the same time.

Once you've registered, HMRC will send you a Unique Taxpayer Reference number and you'll then complete a Self Assessment tax return each year.

Even if you already complete a Self Assessment tax return, you can still complete a Self Assessment registration form to tell HMRC about your self-employment.

It's best if you register as soon as you become self-employed. You must register at the latest by 5 October after the end of the tax year for which you need a tax return. The tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next. So if, for example, you have tax to pay on your business profits for the 2010-11 tax year, you need to let HMRC know by 5 October 2011.

Register your business for HMRC taxes

If you register late you may have to pay a penalty.

Registering for the Construction Industry Scheme

If you are a contractor and/or a sub-contractor in the construction industry, you must also register with the Construction Industry Scheme.

For more information, see our guide: what is the Construction Industry Scheme?

Registering for VAT

If you expect your business to have turnover of more than £73,000, you will need to charge VAT to your customers and pass this on to HMRC. Use our interactive tool to find out if you need to register for VAT.

Registering as an employer

If you employ other people in your business you need to collect and pay income tax and NICs, which will mean operating a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system. See our guide on PAYE for employers: the basics.

Subjects covered in this guide


HM Revenue & Customs

HMRC Newly Self-Employed Helpline

0845 915 4515

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