Updated on 13 November 2017

Welcome to the ‘self-employment section' of our website. This section is for you if you are self-employed and on a low income. Self-employed people are those who ‘work for themselves’.


If you are self-employed, you will have to deal with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), as they assess and collect tax and pay out tax credits and other benefits.

HMRC do not always get things right. So it is important for you to check the tax you pay on your self-employment income. You may also need to contact HMRC if you do not understand something or if you disagree with them.

What information and help can I find in this section?

In this section, we provide information and help to encourage you to try and solve your tax problem for yourself. It is easier and cheaper in the long run if you can understand and manage your own tax affairs.

It is often difficult to know whether you are employed or self-employed but it is important you understand so you can get your tax right. The first section of this part of the site will help you establish whether you are employed, self-employed, both or neither. Assuming you are self-employed then the rest of the section will tell you what you need to know about dealing with tax when you work for yourself. In particular, we provide information on the following areas of taxation for the self-employed.

Where can I get more help?

If you are employed, we suggest you also visit our ‘employment section’.

If you have come from abroad to work in the UK, we suggest you also visit our ‘migrants and tax section’.

If you want to know whether you are entitled to receive government support to supplement a low income (working tax credit) or to help those with children (child tax credit) visit our tax credits section. Both of these types of tax credit, together with certain other benefits, are gradually being replaced by universal credit.

If you think you might be entitled to state benefits, we provide an overview of the main benefits.

If you do not agree with a decision of HMRC, find out what action you can take on our ‘tax appeals’ page.

If you are unhappy with the way in which you have been treated by HMRC, you may be able to make a complaint.

HMRC manage the UK tax system. You can contact them with general income tax enquiries or specifically in connection with self assessment.

HMRC have produced a short film on 'Working  For Yourself' which explains what to do if you are planning to become self-employed. HMRC also have e-learning packages available online and run regular webinars which you can join to help you to get started when self employed. For more information on these learning tools click here.

You can find out where to get help from third party organisations in our 'getting help section'.

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