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Freelance newbie after some advice on freelancing - what receipts do I need to keep?

(7 Posts)
Orlandsundry Wed 14-Mar-18 11:33:07

Hi there, hope you don't mind me asking you all for some advice? I used to freelance 10 years ago, but only for a few months so never really got too involved in the benefits of it. Always prefered being employed. Now I have been offered some freelance work to do from home for a pretty decent day rate, so thought I would try again. Just wondered if you could give me the downlow on what I need to do to make this work.
Can I offset the cost of my internet connection, the cost of software etc? How about travel and eating out? Are they deductible too? Are there any clever things I can do to get the best out of this financially? Do I need an accountant? I'll only be doing this job up until August, and will earn about £11.5 K so we're not talking a fortune here, but I want to be savvy about it.
Thanks everyone!

OP’s posts: |
SG29 Mon 19-Mar-18 09:03:36


You will need to look through the self-employed section of the HMRC website to get a full understanding of the taxes and financing. They do try to make things easy to understand. They also have a lot of webinars, if you are into that sort of thing.

You can offset part of the cost of your internet and phone service. For software there are rules depending on type, how long you use it for, etc., but I believe it has to be work specific, not just Microsoft office and that kind of thing.

I wouldn't use an accountant for this level of earnings. It's not that hard to figure out the tax stuff, and you will have to do a lot of the work anyway to provide the accountant with what he or she needs to do your taxes anyway.

Travel, eating out, entertainment, etc. are not generally deductible. There might be exceptions to the travel costs if you are solely traveling on client business, but anything equivalent to "commuting" is not allowed. You can deduct a fairly small amount per month at the standard rate to allow for using your home for business, but it depends on how many hours you work in each month, and you can only count hours of work that is charged out, not overhead, marketing, etc.

But have a look at HMRC's self-employment webpages, everybody's circumstances are different and I really only remember what applies to me. There might be particular things applying to you which make a difference.

Good luck!

SarfE4sticated Mon 19-Mar-18 19:01:00

Thanks @SG29 that's really nice of you, will look at the HMRC website.
Much appreciated! brew

extinctspecies Mon 19-Mar-18 19:03:35

Assume you are going to set yourself up as a sole trader?

You need to let HMRC know you are going to be self-employed.

extinctspecies Mon 19-Mar-18 19:20:41

Also, you should ask your client what expenses you can claim from them.

For example, the first freelance project I did, the client was happy to pay for all my phone calls made as part of the project.

I also charge clients mileage (45p per mile) for travelling to the meetings they organise if they are off site (although not for working at their offices).

SarfE4sticated Thu 22-Mar-18 16:00:27

@extinctspecies Do I need to set myself up as a sole trader? I might only do 5 months of freelance design at a £150 day rate, so not going to be raking it in...
Thanks for your help everyone
Orlan aka Sarf

extinctspecies Fri 23-Mar-18 07:05:39

You may not need to, maybe just declare it as self-employed income on your tax return.

But I'm not an expert, if you call the HMRC helpline they will be able to advise you. They are usually really helpful.

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