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Sole Trader Registration: Is It For You?

If you’re a sole trader, you run your own business as an individual and are self-employed.

You can keep all your business’s profits after you’ve paid tax on them. You’re personally responsible for any losses your business makes. You must also follow certain rules on running and naming your business.

Check what counts as self-employed if you’re not sure about your status.

How to register

You need to set up as a sole trader if any of the following apply:

  • you earned more than £1,000 from self-employment between 6 April 2018 and 5 April 2019
  • you need to prove you’re self-employed, for example, to claim Tax-Free Childcare
  • you want to make voluntary Class 2 National Insurance payments to help you qualify for benefits

To set up as a sole trader, register for Self Assessment and file a tax return every year.

Your responsibilities

You’ll need to:

  • keep records of your business’s sales and expenses
  • send a Self Assessment tax return every year
  • pay Income Tax on your profits and Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance

You’ll need to apply for a National Insurance number if you’re moving to the UK to set up a business.

VAT

You must register for VAT if your turnover is over £85,000. You can register voluntarily if it suits your business, for example, if you sell to other VAT-registered businesses and want to reclaim the VAT.