As established in our Becomming Self-Employed Guide taking the plunge and beginning to work for yourself and not having a guaranteed income as you would have as am employee can be a daunting prospect. However there are several things that you may be able to get help with and take a little bit of the pressure off, especially when starting out on your self-employment journey.
When compiling your accounts (and filing your yearly tax return) there are several items which you you can subtract from your income when calculating your self-employed income. Included in this is any insurance you may have for the business, a portion of your utility (electricity & gas only) bills if you work from home, office costs & equipment and certain travel expenses incurred on business-related journeys. However, you should ensure that it is an allowable expense so that you avoid getting in trouble with HMRC.
If you are self-employed and not earning very much money you may be eligable for income support, working tax credit or universal credit to help with your finances. Check the government website for more information and to see if you are eligable.
Working tax credits
If you’re self-employed you may be able to claim working tax credits, however claimants must show that their self-employed business is regular and ongoing and that they’re trading with the aim of making profits. For more information see the working tax credit rules (here)
Self-employed individuals may also be eligable for housing benefit and council tax support through their local council. Claimants will be required to provide your last financial years accounts (or a forecast if you have’nt yet completed your first year) and possible copies of receipts. To see if you’re eligable for housing benefit check out the government benefit calculator )
You may also be eligable to claim universal credit which is replacing many other benefits across the country. Individuals will need to declare your earnings and give details of any payments in (or out) of your business at the end of each monthly assessment period. You will also be given a work coach who will also require records of customers and suppliers, and your marketing materials.
If you are considering going self-employed you may want to see if you’re eligable for a government grant called the New Enterprise Allowance. You could be eligable if you (or your partner has been in receipt of jobseekers allowance employment and support allowance, income support or if you’re a lone parent, sick or disabled and are beginning a new business.
There are also other small business grants available from local governments, the EU and other organisations. To see if there is a grant suitable for you have a look at the governments finance finder tool.