Guide on Taxes for the Self Employed | Simplify Filing & Save!

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on taxes for the self employed in the United Kingdom. If you’re self employed, understanding your tax obligations is crucial for legal compliance and financial success. Whether you’re a freelancer, contractor, or small business owner, this guide will simplify the filing process and help you save!

Being self employed means you’re responsible for calculating and paying your own taxes. Unlike employees who have taxes deducted from their wages, self-employed individuals must navigate the world of self employment tax on their own. This includes understanding tax deductions for self employed individuals, which can help reduce your taxable income and lower your overall tax liability. With the right knowledge and organization, you can optimize your tax return and keep more of your hard-earned money.

What Are the Taxes for the Self Employed in the UK?

In the UK, self-employed individuals are responsible for paying income tax and National Insurance contributions on their earnings. Here’s an overview:

  1. Income Tax: Self-employed individuals pay income tax on their profits. The current tax rates for the tax year 2023/24 are:
    • 20% on annual profits between £12,571 and £50,270
    • 40% on profits between £50,271 and £150,000
    • 45% on profits over £150,000
  2. National Insurance: There are two types of National Insurance contributions for the self-employed:
    • Class 2: £3.05 per week if profits are £6,515 or more a year
    • Class 4: 9% on profits between £9,880 and £50,270, and 2% on profits over £50,270
  3. VAT: If your turnover exceeds £85,000 (2022/23 threshold), you must register for VAT and charge VAT on your goods and services. The standard VAT rate is 20%, although some goods and services have a reduced rate of 5% or are exempt.
  4. Other Taxes: Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to pay Capital Gains Tax, Corporation Tax (if operating through a company), or other taxes.
  5. Tax Returns: Self-employed individuals must file a Self Assessment tax return each year, usually by 31 January following the end of the tax year.

Do I Need to Fill in a Self Assessment Tax Return as a Self Employed Individual?

As a self-employed individual, you may be wondering if you need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return. The answer depends on a few key criteria that determine your tax obligations.

  1. Income thresholds: If your self-employed income exceeds a certain threshold, you are required to fill in a Self Assessment tax return.
  2. Sources of untaxed income: If you have additional sources of untaxed income, such as rental properties or investments, you may need to complete a tax return.
  3. Occupational considerations: Certain occupations, such as company directors, also require the submission of a Self Assessment tax return.

self employed tax return

It’s important to note that Class 2 National Insurance contributions are no longer required for self-employed individuals from April 2024.

By understanding these criteria, you can determine whether or not you need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional or use a self-employed tax calculator to ensure accuracy and compliance.

How to Register for a Self Assessment Tax Return?

If you’re self-employed in the UK, it’s important to register for a Self Assessment tax return with HMRC. This straightforward process ensures that you meet your self-employed tax obligations and avoid any penalties.

Different registration processes exist based on your self-employment status. Whether you’re self-employed as an individual, part of a partnership, or have a limited company, HMRC provides specific guidelines to help you navigate the registration process.

One of the key steps in registering for a Self Assessment tax return is obtaining a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). This reference number is unique to you and is assigned upon registration. It’s essential for accurately reporting your self-employed income and expenses.

To register for a Self Assessment tax return, you’ll need to go through the online registration process. This involves setting up a Government Gateway account, which provides a secure platform for submitting your tax return and accessing other HMRC services.

By following these steps and registering for a Self Assessment tax return, you’ll be on your way to fulfilling your self-employed tax obligations and ensuring compliance with HMRC.

hmrc self employed

“Registering for a Self Assessment tax return is a crucial step for self-employed individuals to fulfill their tax obligations and avoid penalties.”

Deadlines and Information for Filling in a Self Assessment Tax Return

Filing your self-employed tax return is an essential task for every self-employed individual. To ensure a smooth process and avoid penalties, it’s important to be aware of the deadlines and information required.

Deadlines for Filing

There are two main deadlines for filing your self-employed tax return:

  1. 31 October: This is the deadline for paper filing your tax return. If you choose to file your return on paper, make sure it reaches HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by this date.
  2. 31 January: For online filing, the deadline is 31 January of the following year. You should submit your tax return electronically through the HMRC website on or before this date.

It’s crucial to adhere to these deadlines to avoid any late filing penalties from HMRC.

Information Required for Filling in Your Tax Return

When filling in your self-employed tax return, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  1. Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR): This serves as your identification number for tax purposes. If you’re new to self-employment, you can easily obtain your UTR by registering for Self Assessment with HMRC.
  2. National Insurance Number: Your NI number is used to track your National Insurance contributions and ensure proper tax calculations.
  3. Income Sources: You’ll need to report all sources of income earned during the tax year, including self-employment income, rental income, and any other income streams.
  4. Expenses: Keep track of your business expenses throughout the year as they can be deducted from your taxable income. Be sure to include all allowable expenses relevant to your self-employment.
  5. Other Relevant Financial Details: Depending on your specific circumstances, you may need to provide additional financial information such as capital gains, savings, or pensions.

By organizing and gathering this information beforehand, you can streamline the process and ensure that your tax return is accurate and complete.

self employed tax returns

Deadline Filing Method
31 October Paper Filing
31 January Online Filing


Taxes for self-employed individuals in the UK can be complex, but with proper understanding and organization, the process is manageable. It’s essential for self-employed individuals to familiarize themselves with HMRC guidelines and their tax obligations to ensure compliance and avoid penalties.

One important aspect of managing taxes as a self-employed individual is keeping accurate records of income and expenses. By diligently tracking financial transactions and maintaining receipts, self-employed individuals can ensure they claim all eligible expenses and deductions, reducing their tax liability and maximizing their tax planning strategies.

While managing self-employed taxes independently can be daunting, seeking professional assistance from an accountant or utilizing accounting software can provide valuable guidance and streamline the process. These experts can offer comprehensive advice on self-employment tax planning, optimizing allowances, and ensuring compliance with HMRC regulations.

In summary, self-employed individuals in the UK need to be proactive in understanding their tax obligations, keeping meticulous records, and seeking expert guidance when necessary. By staying informed and organized, self-employed individuals can navigate the complexities of taxes, minimize their tax burden, and focus on growing their business with confidence.

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