HMRC launches self-employed support materials

Thursday 26 March 2015

Self-employment has been increasing in popularity over recent years, as more and more find themselves attracted by flexible ways of working and greater control.

However, what often deters people from striking out on their own is the perceived complexity of becoming a contractor, sole trader or limited company.

In a bid to quell these fears and ensure the self-employed have access to the support they need, the government has released a series of materials to help educate those who choose to be their own boss.

This includes e-learning, emails, webinars and videos covering topics such as the basics of self-employment, business expenses, capital allowances, online tax returns, record keeping and many other key areas.

E-learning

Some of the biggest challenges for the self-employed centre around tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses.

Those that employ the services of contractor, sole trader or limited company accountants have this burden taken away from them, but a layman understanding is always advised.

To help the self-employed better understand their obligations, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is offering a series of online courses. These are designed to build confidence and they can be completed flexibly around individual schedules.

Emails

For those starting a business, HMRC has created a series of business emails to make it easier for individuals to lay the foundations for their enterprise.

The emails are a free service that is tailored to the needs of self-employed individuals. HMRC claims the emails will help professionals understand what they need to do to set up a business correctly.

Webinars and videos

HMRC will be hosting a series of live one hour webinars targeting sole traders and business partnerships. The webinars will cover key topics and questions can be asked throughout.

For those wanting to participate, registration and login should happen at least five minutes before the webinar is due to start. However, registration is not needed to watch the YouTube videos.

However, to watch the webinars it's important computers meet the minimum requirements.

Increasing self-employment support

The latest series of materials are part of a growing body of information and sources from HMRC designed to clarify what is required from the self-employed.

As contractor, sole trader and limited company numbers swell, other bodies are also working to make information more readily available. This includes the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), which recently issued guidance on challenging tax return policies.

Accountancy services can also play an important role in helping the newly self-employed navigate their new environment.

Offering support with finances and advice, accountants will ensure people stay on the right side of the law once they strike out on their own.


By Victoria McDonnell

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