What is a sole trader?
A sole trader business, sometime known as being self-employed, is the simplest type of business to set up and run. A sole trader is defined by the fact that one person is solely responsible for the business
Pros and Cons of operating as a sole trader
The business will be set up under your name and you are entitled to keep all of the profits.
However this means you are also responsible for the tax owed, along with any debts incurred by the business. In essence, as a sole trader, you are the business.
Cheap and simple to operate
You don't have to worry about salary and dividends
You don't have to deal with Companies House, only HMRC
Easy to set up and close down
You are personally liable for the debts of the business
If your profits are over £20,000 it can be less tax efficient
Customers, suppliers and competitors will see you as a small business
Registering as a sole trader
If you decide to start working for yourself, you must inform HMRC of your decision, regardless of whether you already complete a Self Assessment tax return.
It is best to register with HMRC as soon as you start trading. The latest you can register is by the 5th October in your business' second tax year.
HMRC can issue penalties for late registration, so it's in your best interests to do this on time!
Registering with HMRC is very straight forward, you simply need to complete a CWF1 form, which can be found by clicking here.
What is a UTR number?
A Unique Tax Reference (UTR) is a reference number assigned by HMRC to identify you as a tax payer.
You should quote this number whenever you correspond with HMRC.
If you register as self-employer, HMRC will ussue your UTR number automatically, usually within 28 days.
What is the tax year?
Key dates for Self Assessment Tax returns
5th October - Registering for Self Assessment
31st October - Paper Tax Returns
31st January - Online Tax Returns
31st January - Pay all tax owed
31st July - Optional mid-year Payment on Account
Income tax and NI
Every person in the UK is entitled to a tax free allowance.
This is the amount of profit that can be earned before any tax is payable. Over the allowance, the rates are 20% tac, increasing to 40% above another threshold, and 9% national insurance.
Paying your tax bill
Your tax is due before the 31st January, following the tax year end.
If your tax bill is over £1,000, then you must make payments on account. This means that HMRC will collect your tax plus the current year's tax in two payments; one payment before 31st January and the second before 31st July.
Completing your accounts
If we are completing your accounts and accompanying tax returns we follow a simple three step process
Prepare Your Information
Gather together records of your current tax situation, such as your previous years tax returns, details of your income and relevant bank records and receipts
We compile your accounts
After your accounts are completed, they'll be double checked by a senior accountant.
We'll then send them to you to review before we do anything further.
We submit your accounts
Once we've received your approval, we'll submit your accounts and return to HMRC