Skip to main content

If you are self-employed or are looking for advice on starting up a business, the following websites provide useful information and links to organisations that offer advice and support.

If you do any self-employed work, you must register as a business with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  You are responsible for paying the tax and National Insurance due on your self-employed earnings.  You do this by completing a Self Assesssment tax return on which you report your self-employment income after the end of each tax year. HMRC will calculate what you owe based on what you report.  You will need to keep records of your business income and outgoings so you can fill in your tax return correctly.

This is in contrast to employed work, whereby your employer will deduct tax and National Insurance due on your employed earnings and send it direct to the government through a process called Pay as You Earn (PAYE).  Many musicians and dancers will have a portfolio of both employed and self-employed work.

If you are unsure whether your work makes you self-employed, there is information to help you decide your employment status on GOV.UK.

Find out how to register as self-employed with HMRC.


Useful Websites

ISM – Finance and Tax
The ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) provides advice on various aspects of finance and tax in a series of articles and videos.

Musicians’ Union – Tax 
Information about the tax issues you will face as a professional musician, including information about self assessment, tax returns, VAT and claiming expenses.

Prospects graduate careers website
A guide to self-employment.

Information about starting up a business in the UK and about setting up as a sole trader (i.e. for those who run their own business as an individual and are self-employed).

South East Enterprise (SEE)
Offer a range of client focused services to start-ups, established businesses and individuals wishing to update their business skills.  One area of support offered is the e-business support programme which offers free hands on support for Royal Greenwich and London Borough of Harrow businesses from experienced advisers at SEE will show you how to get the most from e-business.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme
The Enterprise Programme is for young people aged 18-30 living in the UK who are unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week and are interested in exploring whether self-employment is right for them. It’s designed to help you make that decision and explore your idea further.