Step by step journey to become a sole trader

Most of the businesses in the UK follow the sole trader model, and it usually starts as a small business before attending the sole trader status. Mostly the government recognises these sole traders as self-employed individuals responsible for conducting a business.

When you become a sole trader, you will manage your business from one end to another. You will need to take care of the finances, make payments and so on. However, becoming a sole trader isn't as easy as it seems to be.


Do you need to register as a sole trader to be self-employed?

Step by step journey to become a sole trader

If you plan to start your business in the UK, you must register as a sole trader. After the registration, you receive the status to operate legally within the region. It is crucial to meet tax purposes as well. As the sole trader, you need to make HMRC payments and contribute to the pension scheme.

You must maintain a proper earnings record when you register as a sole trader. Many people think you don't need to undergo any registration to become a sole trader. Well, it is not valid. The sole traders often quit their full-time employment roles and set up their businesses. Therefore, it is crucial to register for the business.

According to the rules in the UK, before registering as a sole trader, you will be eligible to earn only £1000 per year. Your earnings must be over the threshold to receive the significant benefits. You can also make money from side hobbies or businesses.

Once you have earnings over the £1000 per year threshold, you can easily apply for the sole trader position. Being self-employed usually means that you will be working for yourself. However, many people consider using it interchangeably and often confusing.


What are the responsibilities of a sole trader?

If you plan to register as a sole trader, you need to be familiar with the responsibilities. The HMRC provides a set of rules that you need to follow. Here are some of the added responsibilities that you will need to take care of as a sole trader:

Make sure to maintain a record of the income and expenses of your business.

  • You should know that if the business undergoes any debt or loss, you will only be responsible for it.
  • You need to register for the self-assessment tax returns and file them within the deadline. However, the approval will depend on how you file the tax assessment.
  • You need to pay taxes and National Insurance.
  • When you employ someone to work under you, start bookkeeping.

How to register as a sole trader?

You can register as a sole trader at the HMRC. Nonetheless, it is necessary to comply with all the rules or regulations, or your application will be rejected. The HMRC is responsible for collecting the tax and national insurance Contributions and helps with student loan repayments.

When you register as a sole trader with HMRC, you must know that you do not have to do everything yourself. Many people provide affordable and professional services to the newbies to help them register.

When you plan to register as a sole trader, you need to ensure proper knowledge about the process. Hiring professional accountants can save you a significant amount of time.


Register for Self-assessment

The first step for registering as a sole trader is to file a self-assessment registration. You can do so by visiting the government website. By following this rule, you will be able to complete your tax returns every year. The tax return assessment will usually be available from April, which marks the beginning of a new tax year.

One of the most prominent benefits of registering for self-assessment is that it is a very fast process. As long as you provide appropriate information, you will be able to receive the approval within time.


Choose a business name

You need to have an effective business name when registering as a sole trader. Many sole traders consider naming the business after themselves. Nonetheless, it is advisable to run a business with the same name.

According to HMRC, you shouldn't use a copyrighted name. It would help to refrain from naming your business with misleading words. Registering the business name with Companies House can be extremely beneficial.

In such a situation, the best thing to do is name a company after yourself.


Set up the account


After registering with HMRC, you will be eligible to receive UTR or Unique Taxpayer Reference. After the registration process is complete, you will receive the UTR number within ten working days, and the UTR number will be posted to you.

It is advisable to safeguard and store the UTR number appropriately. You will often need the UTR number when you file the tax returns. The post may also consist of a letter that has an activation code.

You can use the given activation code to log in to the self-assessment HMRC account online. You will be able to access your dashboard and update the information accordingly, and you need to provide information such as phone number and address.

When you log in to the self-assessment account, you will be considered a sole trader officially. Nonetheless, this is not the end, for you will need to follow more complex processes for the registration process.


What do you need to pay as the sole trader?

As the sole trader, you must file the tax return and pay contributions and taxes accordingly. You may often have trouble comparing the expenses. Therefore, keeping a record of documents can be extremely helpful. You need to pay National Insurance and Income Tax within the deadline to ensure you can file for returns appropriately.


If you want to start any business on a small scale, you must register as a sole trader. HMRC follows a quite simple process for business registration. You need to ensure that you file the documents within the deadline and make the payments appropriately. However, hiring professionals can be of great help in fixing the issues and easing the process.


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