Being a sole trader is the simplest way to run a business - it does not involve paying any registration fees, keeping records and accounts is straightforward, and you get to keep all the profits. However, you are personally liable for any debts that your business runs up, which make this a risky option for businesses that need a lot of investment.
You need to register as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Management and raising finance
You make all the decisions on how to manage your business.
You raise money for the business out of your own assets and/or with loans from banks or other lenders.
Records and accounts
- make an annual Self Assessment tax return to HMRC
- keep records showing your business income and expenses
Any profits go to you.
Tax and National Insurance
As you are self-employed:
- your profits are taxed as income
- you pay fixed-rate Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) regardless of any profits you make
- you pay Class 4 NICs on any profits
As a sole trader, you are personally responsible for any debts run up by your business. This means your home or other assets may be at risk if your business runs into trouble.