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Self employed...

Hi everyone, being in the middle of a (dare I say it out loud) recession (shhh!) and recently out of uni I'm currently flitting between bidding myself for freelance projects and some temp work through an agency to tie me over financially.

I've got my first big(ish) freelance contract lined up to start in October and I've realised that I should probably register as self-employed. If my freelance projects are fairly short term and I keep going back to temp work in between (being paid through an agency) and working freelance for myself (invoicing the client and being paid directly to me) does this effect what I am should tell the Inland Revenue? Or do I just keep re/de-registering as I move between temp agency and self-employed?

Does anyone have any experience being in a similar position or any advice on this?

Any comments appreciated as I am confused as!


Active Member
You should register as 'self employed' - probably as a sole trader within 3 months from the point you started trading (otherwise your liable to a fine).

I would open a separate bank account to use for your freelance work and keep everything separate. Then you will need to do a tax returned by September 31st for any trading that took place before 31st march 09. Any thing after that date will be by 31st sept next year.

If you keep about 30% of all earnings you should be safe for tax/ni - don't forget to keep any receipts for things like printer ink / software too as these can be offset.

If you earn (or are expected to) less than £5,400 (roughly) a year from freelance then you can opt out of the basic ni contributions of about £30 per 3 months and just pay what is worked out in your end of year return.

I presume the temping work tax/ni is all sorted by the agency.
Great tip on printer ink and software, thanks!

Yep exactly that, the temp work tax and NI is all sorted by the agency.

If I register as self-employed do you know if I can still work through the agency as, effectively, employed by them? i.e. can I have two "statuses" with the Inland Revenue running simultaneously, basically saying to them that I am going to be self employed but sometimes I will be working through the agency where my tax and NI will already be taken care of?

Then when I come to do my tax returns I can effectively disregard my earnings through the agency and just use my self employed income? Or will being "self-employed" really screw up getting paid/taxed/NI if I then work again through the agency?



Active Member
Hi Gary,

You will need to register as self employed as tbwcf says above, and you can still work in full-time or part-time employment whilst being self employed, obviously it's separate but you can do both at the same time.