Whether you are employed or self-employed makes a substantial difference to how you are taxed and the income tax liabilities of an employed person can be very different from those of a self-employed person with similar levels of gross income. The National Insurance liabilities of the employed and self-employed are also calculated differently and entitlement to benefits, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, also varies depending on one’s employment status.
It is therefore important for any working person to know their exact employment status. Sometimes, however, deciding whether someone is genuinely self-employed or an employee can be difficult and HM Revenue and Customs are unforgiving of those who ‘get it wrong’. However, they do produce fact sheets to help people make the correct decision and have recently updated part of the IR56 booklet (‘Employed or Self-Employed’).
The new guidance, in the form of leaflet ES/FS1, is a short guide to the question and is helpful in that it deals with specific types of occupation (e.g. entertainers) where the normal income tax law may not apply. It can be downloaded here. It also provides links to advice on special circumstances (e.g. the working rights of non-residents and what to do if you have more than one job).