I am self employed and have been running my own business for the last few years. I had my second baby in the summer and have been claiming Maternity Allowance since then. I decided the time had come to close my previous business and I plan to create my own website instead. My question is, is there a way I can do this legally now or do I need to wait until my Maternity Allowance ends? My husband is self employed, but due to Covid and other factors he has been off work for much of this year so is around to do work on the website etc. Am I allowed to set up/open a business or will my MA end if I do or should I get my husband to do it for me?
Setting up a website is an ancillary part of a business and, in itself, not profit- making. Irrespective of who does the website that does not infringe Maternity Allowance rules. It is not necessary to set up a separate business unless there are other compelling reasons for doing that, for example, tax reasons. For example, a new structure could be a partnership with your husband, but as he would be due profits on his share of the partnership that would have a tax implication for him.
Also websites themselves are speculative. Unless the marketing is invested in it, the chances are it will be a slow burner. So my advice is to stay as you are and go ahead and develop the website.
It is not breaking the rules if you make sales as a result as the intention of the MA rules is not to destroy people’s livelihoods and it is extremely unlikely you will be earning large amounts. For instance, you cannot shut down an online business when you start MA and then simply restart again afterwards. That would be absurd.
The rules don’t really cover the real world of the self employed, but unless you are claiming other benefits such as Universal Credit the only declaration is an end of year tax return.