Working for yourself

If you start working for yourself, you may need to report your income to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You may also need to set up a business.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Selling goods or services

You need to set up a business if you ‘trade’ in goods or services.

You’re likely to be trading if you:

  • sell regularly to make a profit
  • make items to sell for profit
  • sell items on a regular basis, either online, at car boot sales or through classified adverts
  • earn commission from selling goods for other people
  • are paid for a service you provide

If you only occasionally sell items or rent out property (for example through auction websites or short-term rental apps), check if you need to tell HMRC about this income.

Contact HMRC for advice if you’re not sure whether you’re trading.

Running a business

You’re probably running a business if you:

  • take responsibility for its success or failure
  • have several customers at the same time
  • can decide how, where and when you do your work
  • can hire other people at your own expense to help you or to do the work for you
  • provide the main items of equipment to do your work
  • are responsible for finishing any unsatisfactory work in your own time
  • charge an agreed fixed price for your work
  • sell goods or services to make a profit

You can run a business and be employed at the same time, for example if you work for an employer during the day and run your own business in the evenings.

If you’re running a business, you need to make sure it’s set up properly. Find out what you need to do to set up a business.

Get help with your business

You can get help with setting up or growing your business, for example with funding your idea.