becoming a freelancer

If you’re a practitioner looking to freelance or work on a short-term basis for other companies or organisations, you need to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs as self-employed.

Once you have done this, you can be hired by other organisations to work on a fixed-contract, and will usually be paid by the hour for your specific skills. Alternatively, you may be paid a flat fee for a particular project.

Unlike being employed by another organisation, you will be responsible for paying your tax and National Insurance. Any organisations you work for on a freelance basis will not be eligible to pay you holiday or sick pay.

As a self-employed person you will be taxed differently to an employee. You may need the help of an accountant to keep abreast of your accounts. There are special tax reliefs and allowances which you can claim, and you can claim back your expenses against your income tax bill. You will need to complete a Tax Return at the end of each financial year.

You can be self-employed and employed at the same time, but you will need to declare your status to the Inland Revenue when you fill out your Tax Return – they must be informed of all areas of your income.

You can offset taxes paid as an employee against taxes to be paid as self-employed if your income as an employee is low.

For more information on becoming self-employed, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau’s website section on Self-Employment, or call the Newly Self-Employed helpline on 08459 154515.