Keep It Legal: An Essential Guide For The Newly Self-Employed

Setting up as self-employed can be a very rewarding and liberating experience. But it is by no means without its complications. In addition to the stress of being ‘in charge’ for the first time, there are a fair number of legal requirements you must adhere to as well. Here are just a couple of key approaches you must take in order to keep everything above board.

Be An Honest and Responsible Director

As company director, the buck officially and legally stops with you. Therefore, you’ll want to be certain that you are operating within the bounds of legality and honest practice. Your primary aim of course, is to make the business a success, using all your knowledge, experience and skills. People who try to manipulate business finances for their own personal gain will eventually be caught. So accordingly, be sure that your company’s accounts are always honest and that they present a fair view of the business’ financial standing. Part of this process involves registering for a financial self-assessment and sending a personal self-assessment tax return each financial year. If you fail to follow any of these vital steps, you could be prosecuted to the fully extent of the law.

Watch The Little Legal Details

As well as your larger-scale financial responsibilities, there are some smaller details which are also a legal requirement. For example, when running a limited company from an office (or anywhere other than your home address), you must by law have a sign displaying the fact that you are a business. Likewise, in any official company correspondence – business letters, order forms, websites, invoices etc – your company name, address, registered number and location must all be present and easy to see. For this reason, it is a good idea to have ready-made stationary, with your business details and logo already printed in the form of a professional letterhead. As well as being a legal requirement, this process is cheap (if purchased through a company such as 1st class envelopes) and exudes both class and professionalism.

Going Forward

Becoming self-employed for the first time is an incredibly mixed experience; full of freedom but equally rife with responsibilities and formal legalities as well. No doubt as you go through the initial processes of setting up your business, you’ll look much deeper into the legal requirements. But this should serve as a short and concise introduction to some of the issues you’ll be encountering.