Author Topic: UK Self employed writers?  (Read 3234 times)

Offline Kate B

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UK Self employed writers?
« on: January 17, 2009, 03:15:59 PM »
Hello my fellow writers,

I just wondered if anyone knew where I could get advice about registering as a self employed writer whilst working a full time job.

Is it feasible?

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

 :)

http://coffeewithkate.wordpress.com or find me on Twitter @coffeewithkate

Wolfe

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Re: UK Self employed writers?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2009, 07:57:58 AM »
Linda's the expert on this one.  You might want to private message her.

Wolfe

Offline Talisman

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Re: UK Self employed writers?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2009, 12:32:01 PM »
Entirely feasible. Until I resigned from my job a few weeks ago, I was both employed and self employed. It works wonderfully for me, since I can offset my income from paid employment against business losses, which means I haven't paid tax for about 7 years now ! Your local tax office should be able to point you in the right (write) direction. They are very friendly and not at all the ogres people think they are ! 
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 04:33:44 PM by Talisman »
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Offline david13

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Re: UK Self employed writers?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2009, 12:50:28 PM »
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/iwtregister-as-self-employed.htm

You can register online, but I recommend using the 2-page form and keeping a copy (I always keep a copy of any form I sign):
You can download and print an application (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/leaflets/se1.pdf) to post to HMRC (Newcastle)
OR fill in the form for yourself & then submit details online/phone (number on form; you do not have to sign!)
Use your own name as the business name, else you will have to open a separate bank account.
You are a Sole Trader.
Online registration:
https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/shortforms/form/CWF1ST?dept-name=CWF1&sub-dept-name=&location=40&origin=http://www.hmrc.gov.uk
Tick the box at the end of How to Pay your Class 2 National Insurance contributions (allowances are out of date here) - unless you are a serious earner.
I advise do NOT fill in the Direct Debit form.
See also Small Earnings NI exemptions: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/cf10.pdf

You HAVE to register within three months of starting a business. Obviously, if you are not making a profit, HMRC will not be bothered, BUT, by registering and showing a loss, you can offset it against future profits (when you hit the jackpot).
As mentioned by Talisman, you can alternatively offset losses against other income in the same year, but it may be harder to convince HMRC in the first year(s).

The upside of the three months rule? If you register today, you can charge all your expenses for the last three months.

David

Offline Kate B

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Re: UK Self employed writers?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 04:17:52 AM »
thank you for your replies and sound advice. It is very much appreciated!!!  :)
http://coffeewithkate.wordpress.com or find me on Twitter @coffeewithkate

Offline Nick

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Re: UK Self employed writers?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 04:53:12 AM »
As someone who has done this myself at various stages in my career - i.e. combining freelancing with a full-time or part-time job - I would strongly recommend that you speak to an accountant, who will be able to advise you on how best to proceed. There are plenty listed in Yellow Pages -try contacting one or two and see how you get on with them. Obviously, accountants do charge, but most will agree to an initial get-to-know-you meeting with no costs and no obligations. Personally, I've been self-employed (and sometimes employed as well) for twenty years now, and I wouldn't dream of trying to do it without my friendly neighbourhood accountant (Hi, Rob!).

If you also have a full-time job, your income from this will be dealt with by your employer's tax office, which may very well be different from your self-employed tax office (which depends on where you live). Your tax-free personal allowance will be allocated to your paid job initially, so it is likely that you will have to pay basic rate tax (at least) on your freelance income. Still, an accountant will advise you about all this. It's not a problem in my experience, although it can be a bit frustrating that local tax offices don't seem to talk to one another.

Good luck!

Nick  :)
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline lostwanderer5

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Re: UK Self employed writers?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2009, 04:12:36 PM »
I tried to find some useful tax info on google, and found nothing useful...and here at last is some advice that makes sense. Thanks guys.

I am slightly confused about one point though...offsetting losses in present state, against future earning. How does that work? For example, I am currently in full-time employment with hardly any writing income yet. But I am earning something, so if I register as a self-employed now, and show my losses then how many years is it valid for to claim against any future profit?

Nick,
You mentioned accountants. Does it help to have accountants to who specialise for writers/freelancers, or it doesn't really matter?


Offline Nick

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Re: UK Self employed writers?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2009, 11:02:53 AM »
The first question, about off-setting losses, is one for an accountant, I think.

On the second question, my accountant doesn't specialize in writers. Very few do. I've never found that a problem. Mostly my tax affairs are pretty straightforward. If a specific, writing-related issue arises that my accountant doesn't know the answer to (it's only happened once or twice), he will normally know someone he can ask.

Hope that helps!

Nick  :)

Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline lostwanderer5

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Re: UK Self employed writers?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2009, 05:26:55 PM »
Thanks Nick. I will start looking for friendly neighbourhood accountants.