Empowering the Freelance Economy

New to the UK, need to register as self-employed, but don’t have an NI number? Here’s how!

The HMRC has introduced a ‘workaround’ for those who have been unable to obtain a national insurance number and need to register for self-employment and obtain a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England in Wales (ICAEW) has reported.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is not carrying out face to face interviews in connection with applications for national insurance numbers (NINOs) by individuals who come to the UK. This means that applications for a NINO are only possible where the individual entered the UK on a work visa, according to the report.

A NINO is a prerequisite for registering a self-employment with HMRC and those who have been unable to obtain a NINO have therefore been prevented from registering a self-employment and obtaining a UTR.

“HMRC advises that, as an interim measure, an individual without a NINO who needs to register a self-employment should do so by completing an SA1 instead of the usual CWF1. The SA1 is the form that is generally used by those that need to register for self assessment for a reason other than self-employment,” said the ICAEW.

When completing the form:

  • In the “reason for no national insurance number” box on the form, the taxpayer or agent should enter: “Unable to get a NINO as DWP are currently not holding face to face interviews due to COVID-19.”
  • In the section “why do you need to complete a tax return?”, the box “any other reason” should be completed as “self-employed” and state the nature of the self-employment.

Once the taxpayer has been allocated a NINO, they need to remember to call the newly self-employed helpline on 0300 200 3500 to register for Class 2 national insurance. HMRC’s systems will not charge Class 2 national insurance until this step has been followed.

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