Finding out if you're self-employed

It might sound a little bemusing, but quite often people a little unsure as to their actual working status. Are they self employed or, in fact, are they employed? It can be confusing at times.

In fact the answer depends on the conditions and terms of work that you have; but you do need to know what your status is as it affects many different things such as benefits, tax and NI payments and more.

As a guideline, those who are self employed tend to run their own business, and have the added flexibility of deciding what hours they work, and are free to hire who they choose to do work for them, which they pay for.

However, if you have no choice but to do work yourself and tend to have one client at a time and are told by others what work to do, where, when and how, and get paid a regular amount for the hours that you do, then it is most likely that you are employed.

Many people see the distinction as being their own boss or not as whether they are self-employed or not, and in many cases this is a simple and effective way to distinguish between the two - if you have all the autonomy about how you work and what you do you are probably self-employed; if you are responsible to someone else then you are probably not.

However there are what are called Status Officers at the Tax Officers so if for some reason you are genuinely confused about your employment status then it is definitely worth talking to them as they are the experts on this and will be able to advise you accordingly.