Recently I made the huge decision to go self employed with my blog, it wasn’t an easy decision but now I know I made the right choice. This is going to be a long post but I hope it’s helpful to those of you who are thinking of going self employed in the future with your blog.
After posting on Twitter I had so many people reach out to me asking me so many questions about the process so I thought writing a blog post all about my experience would be the best thing to do. I’m obviously no expert when it comes to this sort of thing, I have only made a tiny amount of money from blogging so nothing like a full time income that I can fully support myself but that is the ultimate goal!
Obviously when I first started out blogging, I didn’t have any intention to make any money from my blog as it was a creative output for myself. I wanted to share my thoughts about how cancer changed my life and that’s what I originally started writing about then my blog has grown into something I love and something that I am very proud of.
Now before I get into everything I’m not the best when it comes to the business side of blogging but after going through the process of going self employed I’d like to think I know a bit more now than when I started. I know it all sounds very scary making the big jump but it’s not as scary as you would think. OKAY. Let’s get into it!
When should you register as self-employed?
If you are making or thinking about making money from your blog, you will need to register as self-employed, no matter how much you earn from sponsored posts, affiliate links, ads etc. It may only be £1 but you will still need to register. It’s best to sign up to become self-employed as soon as you can after your blog is set up for monetisation even if you’re not bringing in any money yet. For example: If you have just agreed a fee for your first sponsored post or have just signed up for google AdSense.
What do I have to do once I’m registered?
Once you are officially self-employed then the next step that you will have to do is fill out a self assessment tax form which means that you will have to fill in a tax return each year detailing your blog’s earnings and expenses. As you will have to fill in your self assessment and send to HMRC every year its important to keep all your earnings from your blog. Keep a hold of all your receipts and invoices throughout the year. You may also have to pay towards your class 2 national insurance contributions and VAT – read more about this below though!
Do I have to pay taxes as a blogger?
The standard personal tax allowance is 11,000 which is the amount you are allowed to earn without having to pay tax on it. If you are earning less than that then you shouldn’t have to pay tax although you will have to combine your blog earnings with any other job you have, if you are earing more than 11,000 then you will have to pay 20% back on whatever you are earning on top of the standard rate.
How do I register as self-employed?
SO, you can register online (like I did) as it’s the easiest but you can also do it by over the phone or by post. I think the easiest way to do it is online but make sure you have all your information with you like your national insurance number as you will have to fill in the form in an allocated time. If you do run into anything you aren’t sure of though you can call the HMRC self employed helpline on 08459154515.
Once online go to register your new business with HMRC. I honestly had NO clue what I was doing filling in all the forms and details, I basically just took it question by question but hopefully I can put it in a way you can understand! First thing you need to do is click on the option ‘I want to tell HMRC that I am in business and need to register for a new tax’.
Before you can carry on with registering your new business you will need to create a Government gateway account, if you don’t already have one that is. This is the account you will use to submit your tax returns each year, so make a note of your User ID, password and email. After everything is created you will then be able to log in to your Government Gateway account and register for HMRC taxes.
Obviously make sure you are reading everything and even saving or printing off pages so you don’t miss anything! As a blogger you will want to check the Self Assessment (including Class 2 National Insurance Contributions) box.
If you run your blog by yourself then choose ‘Self-employed/Sole trader/Sole proprietor’ as the type of business then fill out all your personal information and details about your blog and submit the form. After this you will then come to a confirmation page with an ‘Acknowledge reference number’ so you will need to make a note of that for your records. After a few days you will receive a letter confirming your registration and a second letter with an activation code for your self assessment tax returns.
What is self assessment?
Self Assessment is a system HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses to collect income tax. This is when you will declare your blog earnings in a tax return form and then the government will calculate if you owe any money based on what you have declared.
How do I register for self assessment?
After you’ve registered to become self-employed, you will have already registered for self assessment and national insurance contributions at the same time. Within 10 working days, you will receive 2 letters at your home address. The first one should confirm that HMRC has set up a Self Assessment record for you and shows your UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) – this is a very important number so keep it in a very safe place!
The second letter will contain your Self Assessment Activation Code and instructions on how to activate the service online. The code must be used within 28 days or it expires and you will have to repeat the registration process to get a new code.
How do you declare your income and when are the deadlines?
To declare your income all you need to do is fill out a Self Assessment Tax Return by the end of every tax year (which is the 5th April). You can do this either by going online via your government gateway account or filling out a physical form, which you can send off by post.
This is the time that you’ll need to get hold of all your bank statements and receipts so that you can add up your blogs earnings over the past year. All you need to do is add up what you’ve earned, and essentially subtract any business expenses that could be exempt from tax. To put it short, you add up the earnings, and minus the expenses. The number you end up with is the number you give to the HMRC.
That’s all I can tell you about going self-employed with your blog. I know there’s a LOT of information in this post but I hope you found it helpful! If you have any more questions feel free to leave me a comment below or send me a message on any of my social media.