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Self employed, smp - when and how?

(8 Posts)
GoByTrain Mon 24-Sep-12 14:15:43

Hello, I am a self employed free-lancer (specialist editing). I choose the amount of work I do. I probably earn about £1000 per month. However, I might sometimes earn over £2k/month, or sometimes nothing. (The nothing might be because I haven't done any work - as was the case this August, ahem - or it might be because the work I did will be paid in royalties down the line.)

I have been paying NICs.

I am now 11 weeks pregnant.

SO, when - and how - (who do you write to?) - does one claim any support once (or just before?) the baby is born.

And how do they calculate what they give you?

Also, I think you have to prove you've earned £30/week over a 10 week test period? How does that work? Do they pick the period? [worried here, because of the royalties issue or if they pick a 'holiday' period to calculate things.]

Thanks for any feedback! Bit lost since was in full time employment when I had DC1 so didn't have to deal with any of this. Thanks again!

MrAnchovy Mon 24-Sep-12 18:56:26

Claim online here. You can send in your claim from the 14th week before the baby is due.

As self employed you do not have to prove earnings, you will get the maximum MA of £135.45 (goes up in April) if you have paid Class 2 contributions for 13 weeks in the test period; this is all explained in the claim form.

GoByTrain Tue 25-Sep-12 15:15:51

Thank you Mr A for your kind help.

Allied question: I'm confused as to WHO then has to prove earnings.

Or, perhaps in other words, am I even right in thinking I'm self-employed? ('Self employed' may be a quite specific term that I am applying incorrectly to myself?)

As background: I typically work for three or four publishers. I commission work, or they ask me to do work. I am not bound by any contracts. I fill in my own tax returns and keep my own accounts. My business name is my own name; my business address is my house.

GoByTrain Tue 25-Sep-12 15:20:40

Sorry Mr A, I should read links prior to posting. I see it appears to be the employed who have to prove this.
Will carry on reading - thanks again!

MrAnchovy Tue 25-Sep-12 15:43:33

Actually I am a bit concerned from what you say that you might not be registered as self employed. Do you pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions, or are they voluntary Class 3 contributions? Do you fill in the Self Employment pages on your tax return labelled SA103(S) or SA103(F) or do you put your authorship income in as Other Income in the main part of you return labelled SA100?

Note that authorship income is a grey area: if you occasionally write books on which you receive royalty income, or write the occasional article for a fee you may not be self employed. However if you have a business in researching, writing and selling your works you are self employed. The brief facts you have given could fit either situation.

GoByTrain Tue 25-Sep-12 16:21:25

Mr A - I play Class 2 NICs. No one formally asked me to start paying these. BUT I assume I am required to pay them (so in that sense not voluntary).

I set them up on leaving my old job and after my Maternity pay period finished, and just before I started doing some work - around Feb - April 2011.

I will check which pages I have filled out on my tax return (thanks for that info) but I don't think it comes under other income.

I research, write and sell my work (largely articles). I am also due to get royalties from a couple of books (but that is not the bulk of my income - far from, in fact).

How do I know if I have a business per se? (I do put my name in the box labelled name of business on the tax return - so perhaps this answers that question.)

Thank you. Yes, I need to get an accountant...

MrAnchovy Tue 25-Sep-12 17:16:27

OK, if you fill in the bit of the tax return that has a space for the name of the business and pay Class 2 NICs you are definately treated by HMRC as self employed so you don't need to do anything else (apart from apply for MA of course - and Child Benefit when the time comes).

GoByTrain Wed 26-Sep-12 19:37:43

Many thanks - your help is much appreciated!

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