You are self-employed, you have started working for yourself, what do you need to do to now? How to register for tax. When do you pay tax? What records do you keep?

A freeview guide.

When to register for tax

You are required to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if you receive self-employment income of £1,000 or more in a tax year.

You are also required to register if you become a partner in a business.

You will also need to register if you are:

Other income, tax claims & tax registration

In other cases, the rule is (very broadly) that you will need to register for tax if you:

(see HMRC SAM100060 for a detailed list) or,

if you have untaxed Capital Gains, see Reporting Capital Gains Tax.

Time limits

The deadline for registering for Self Assessment is 5 October following the end of the tax year.

For example:

This obligation to notify HMRC of chargeability to Income Tax also applies to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and other income.

You must also notify HMRC if, during the tax year you have:

You must also notify HMRC if you have to report that you are subject to the High-Income Child Benefit Charge

When do I need to file a Self Assessment Tax return?

If you have registered as being self-employed, HMRC will send you a notice to file a tax return each year.

Having registered for tax you may also need to submit a return:

If you are a company director, in December 2018 HMRC amended its guidance to say that where all of a director’s income is taxed at source and there is no further tax to pay, they do not have to register for SA and file a Self Assessment return. This applies specifically to directors, see Do I need to file a tax return?

How to register for tax?

To register for tax you will need ensure that you have the following information and documentation:


1. Navigate to HMRC’s site which will take you through the process of registration and setting up a ‘Business Tax Account’.

HMRC’s new registration page:

2. Enter your details and carefully note down the account number that is given during the process. You will need this to login again later.

3. Upload your details to take you through the ID checks.

4. Once your details are entered, you will then be given a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).

5. An Activation code will be sent to you by post, generally 7-14 days later.

6. Activate your account by login with your details you can access your Business Tax Account.

7. Once you have a UTR and a Business Tax Account you can file your tax return online and check your tax details online.

What Records do I need to keep?

See Recordkeeping & tax: What, how and until when?

Do I need to use software for bookkeeping?

See Making Tax Digital

What accounting period do I use to prepare accounts for tax?

When do I have to pay tax?

Make sure you put money aside to pay your Income Tax and National Insurance bill. See How to work out your tax if you are self-employed

Expanding a new business

See our: New business: Sole trader compliance checklist


Be very careful about being caught by phising (fake) websites which pretend to be HMRC.

HMRC will never charge you to register for tax, file a tax return or claim a tax refund or overpayment.

HMRC will never send you an email to say that you have a tax refund.

You can find details of tax refunds and tax due on your Business Tax Account, once it is set up.

HMRC's confirmed url for registration is


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