Money Making

Register as a Sole Trader – a Step by Step Guide

This guide will hold your hand through every step of registering as a sole trader.

Whether you’re a blogger, a crafter or you regularly earn money doing anything on a freelance basis, you should probably be declaring this to HMRC. The good news is, it’s unlikely you’ll have to pay tax on your earnings if they’re below £11,000 (and let’s face it, most hobby earnings are).

Your National Insurance rate will only be about £2.80/week but it’s probably best to check all of that info (including Tax Credits thresholds).

The benefits of being up front with this declaration are:

  • You won’t be fined or slapped with a massive tax/ National Insurance bill.
  • If you’re paying NI you might be entitled to Maternity Allowance.
  • You get an overview of how your business is performing right away.

So how do you know when to register?

Firstly, if you’re just selling the odd unwanted item on Ebay, you probably don’t need to worry. If you’ve been doing some regular selling or freelance writing, then it’s time to register.

It doesn’t cost anything to tell the government you’re working for yourself, so if it doesn’t work out, you won’t lose out. 

You can register online (this guide will take you step by step) or by phoning HMRC on 0300 200 3504.

1. Start by going here and clicking “start now”

It’ll take you to this page:

register as sole trader

2. Select the second option and click ‘next’.

register as sole trader

3. Click ‘next’.

register as self employed

4. Create an account

register sole trader

5. Register for HMRC taxes.

register as self-employed

6. Select the second option and click ‘next’.

register self employed

7. Click ‘next’.

register sole trader

8. Click ‘next’.

register self employed

9. Fill in your details and click ‘next’.

register sole trader

10. Create a password you’ll remember! 


register self employed

11. Select the second option down and confirm that you have read the terms and conditions (you should read the terms and conditions).

register as sole trader

12. Select the second options and click next (sorry, this is so repetitive, the government’s website is pretty dry!)

register as sole trader

13. Run and find your NI number, then click ‘next’.

How to register as self employed 12

14. Click ‘next’.

register as self employed

15. Fill in all of your details, scroll down, click ‘next’ and check them and do the same on the subsequent pages.

(I’m going to miss some steps out of my screenshots because they contained my personal details and I’m not crazy enough to share them on the internet.)

register as sole trader

16. Select the relevant option from the drop-down menu, click the declaration and click ‘next’.

Then sit back and await your emails from HMRC. If you have any questions, leave it a couple of days then ring the number at the top of this post. Also, write down the government gateway number somewhere you can’t lose it, the website keeps banging on about how important it is.


I hope this has provided some insight into how to enter the world of sole traders and made the application process entirely stress-free!
*This post first appeared on Accidental Hipster Mum.

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