I have recently started freelancing as a self employed digital designer. I haven’t told HMRC yet – what do I need to do to register with them and how do I pay my tax and national insurance?


One of the first things you should do when starting a new self employed business is register with HMRC.

Assuming you are new to freelancing and have not been required to file a tax return in the past, then registration is pretty straightforward by following this HMRC link.

On the link you will register for Self-Assessment tax returns and Class 2 National Insurance. There are other forms to complete if your circumstances differ from the above.

To avoid any penalties you will need to be registered with HMRC before 5th October following the end of the tax year in which you commenced.

For example if you started freelancing in the 14-15 tax year (6th April 2014 to 5th April 2015) then you should register before 5th October 2015.

Tax and National Insurance for the most part will be due on the 31st January following the end of your first tax year based upon the figures on your tax return. This will be due to be filed by the same date.

Following on from the above example the first date that any tax is payable will be 31st January 2016.

We have explained how tax and national insurance work for the self employed in our example here.

If you owe in excess of £1,000 in personal tax then you will also be required to make payments on account for the following year. This will lead to increased payments on 31st January and a further payment to HMRC on 31st July 2016.

The above payments can be paid via the HMRC website or alternatively via cheque using forms which HMRC provide.

When you start up in business it is very important that you are keeping appropriate accounting records and receiving professional advice to ensure that there are no other issues which are not covered above, such as VAT.