Do I have to declare myself as self-employed for helping people? Ask the expert
I understand that you are proposing to work for yourself basically providing help to various Polish people regarding benefits claims and other issues where translation is required. I presume that you are going to be paid for this work and if so, then I suggest that you do establish yourself as self employed. You can do this by either working as an individual or setting up your own company. I suggest that you speak to HM Customs & Excise at the beginning to let them know what you intend to do and at which tax office you have to register. The helpline is very useful (if a little slow) and this would be a good starting point. Of course you would need to keep records of the monies you have been paid and eventually to submit a tax return. It may be worthwhile at least engaging an accountant to advise you on your status at the beginning. Whilst of course there would be a charge it would probably be worth it to make sure you get it right in the first place. With your Polish "customers" it would be very important that you established some sort of terms and conditions with them regarding payment and timescales so that you have some legal redress if they do not pay for whatever reason.
Laura Livingstone is an employment lawyer for Davenport Lyons in London.
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