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Self Employment
I've recently been asked to do some consultancy work. In the past I've generally steered away from it but now the money would be welcome.

The question I would like to ask this forum is where do I go find out how to sort out issues such as tax (including VAT)?

I would also like to know about claiming expenses from clients and what I do with the receipts?

In other words how do you go about setting up your own business?

Any website suggest would be welcome.:face-thinks:
I began with Business Link which offers a wide range of resources, advice etc. They're pretty vgood considering they're government based... actually you should probably get in sooner rather than later before they get axed in the next round of cuts!
You will need to get an accountant if you don't have one already, and s/he will be able to advise on most of these issues. You will also need PI insurance and check that your vehicle insurance covers business use (it probably does). Most expenses will probably be included in your fee but you will give every receipt you ever get to your acountant. The accountant will also advise on how to allocate certain household costs to your business (I am assuming that you will work from home initially) i.e. a proportion of you energy and phone costs etc.
My experience with car insurance over the years is that business usage doesn't cost any more but you have to tell them to put it on, and you have to tell them every year even if continuing the same policy, it tends to get mysteriously left off some years otherwise....fine until you have a crunch and you've carelessly told the constabulary you were at work.....
The tax office used to be helpful too....if you actually talk to a person rather than try to understand their leaflets.

D'know what they're like now.
JAcks right... they are helpful if you talk to a person. and the Business Link website is great.
BAJR Wrote:JAcks right... they are helpful if you talk to a person. and the Business Link website is great.

'What? twice in one life time? hey....when your hot your hot.'
The first thing you will need to do is register as self-employed - there's a phone number to do it. HMRC are really helpful. I've been self employed since 2006 and you don't really need an accountant if your earnings aren't going to be over ?30K or so. You don't need to register for VAT unless you expect to make more than ?70K in a year. Keep a record of your expenses and reciepts, income and outgoing and you'll need to fill in a self-assessment tax return at the end of the year. If you earn less than ?68K then you only need to put down your totals of profit/loss and expenses rather than breaking everything down.

HMRC run a free half day workshop for those going self-employed which explains what records to keep, what expenses are allowable including how much for working from home, how you pay your tax and national insurance (watch out for Class 4 NI too). It was well worth going to, and free compared to an accountant. Having said that a good accountant should make back their fee in going through your receipts. It just depends how much you reckon you're going to earn and how organised you are with paperwork!
Yup... I just have a drawer for receipts and another for invoices. Having a book to put ingoings and outgoings is good. Plus get another bank account so that you can separate your personal account from your business... of course most of us never reach the heady heights of 70k a year... but think carefully... it does not take many jobs to go over the limit, as gross income... a 15k job here, a 20 k job there... and it is your total earnings that you need to consider, even if your expenses are considerable... does that make sense... or has the rain seeped into my brain!
I think I undertsand what you were trying to say David.

I was going to post in reply to EC Gardner that the VAT is based on turnover and not earnings. So for example it doesn't need many weeks of machine hire (even if you are fully recompensed by the project sponsor) to push a self-employed person into VAT-land.....which to be honest is a place you would rather not be!!
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...

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