Working for yourself
If you start working for yourself, you’re classed as a sole trader. This means you’re self-employed - even if you haven’t yet told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Running a business
You’re probably self-employed if you:
run your business for yourself and 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
Many of these also apply if you own a limited company but you’re not classed as self-employed by HMRC. Instead you’re both an owner and employee of your company.
You can be both employed and self-employed at the same time, for example if you work for an employer during the day and run your own business in the evenings.
You can check whether you’re self-employed:
Selling goods or services
You could be classed as a trader if you sell goods or services. If you’re trading, you’re self-employed.
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.
Registering as self-employed
If you’re self-employed, you may need to set up as a sole trader.