If you’ve made the decision to move towards working for yourself, you should consider if you want to be a sole trader, a shareholding director of a limited company, or trade as a partnership. Once you’ve decided, you will need to inform HMRC. So, if you choose to go self employed or enter into a partnership, you will need to advise HMRC, so they can register you to receive a self assessment tax return. In addition, you will also need to tell them if you form a limited company. And, as a self employed person (including a partner), you will likely be required to pay income tax and Class 2 and 4 National Insurance contributions, under self assessment.
Starting up a new business can be a costly exercise, and you’ll need to open a new business bank account for all your future work-related expenditure. It is vital you always keep records of accounts, to help you ensure you report the correct taxable profit to HMRC, after the end of any tax year.
Budgeting and forecasting
When you’re writing your financial forecast for your business, you should consider the following:
- Do you have access to funds you can use to start up your business?
- Do you have savings to carry you through periods of no income or unexpected expenses?
- Are there any life changing events on the horizon, such as moving to a new house or having a new baby?
- When employing staff, have you considered sick pay and annual leave?
You also have to understand if you’re eligible to claim any self employed benefits, tax credits or even grants. You can check this easily by accessing organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau or Gov.UK websites, to establish what you might be eligible for.
If you go self employed, you’ll need to decide where to locate your new business. You could run it from the comfort of your own home, or you may need to rent or purchase another property, as your place of work. If you decide to rent business premises, it is vital you check if there are any rules in place, restricting business activity. What’s more, you also need to check if the environment is suitable for the type of work to take place. If you are renting an office space, you must ensure you know your monthly costs, outside of your initial rental payments. Costs such as services, or any upcoming upgrades to the building, which may increase the rental costs in the future. In addition, don’t forget that, if you convert part of your home into businesses premises, you may be required to pay business rates, on top of any existing council tax commitment. You will also be asked to pay these rates, if you convert any part of your property into a shop/workshop. This will also be the case if client visits become a daily occurrence and you have dedicated rooms in your home, solely for business purposes.
Check your insurance policy and, if in any doubt, call your broker to see if you need to take out additional cover for any business activity within your household. This isn’t an expensive addition, and most companies will combine additional cover into one domestic and business policy. If your business requires clients to enter your property, you may be advised to take out public liability insurance, another inexpensive addition to your insurance policy. You may also be required to hold a licence, depending on the nature of your business.
When deciding if you’re going to use a trading name for your business, you’ll need to be aware of any restrictions in place. If you’re thinking of forming a company, you can check if your proposed company name is already in use by using the Companies House name availability checker. If your business is to have a website, you’ll need to check if there are suitable domains available for your business name. Once everything’s in place, you can get to work on your new business, and enjoy working for yourself.
Lotuswise Chartered Accountants and Business Consultants can help you and your business, setting up as self employed, forming a limited company, and selecting the right cloud accounting solutions, such as QuickBooks. To find out how, please contact us. To also get even more useful business and finance information and tax advice tips, check out our app on Google or Apple stores.
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