If you run a small business, you have certain legal duties around paying business tax and keeping records. There are also different tax allowances, reliefs and incentives available to different types of business.

Tax law basics

Understanding the law around business tax is a good way to prevent your business having problems with unpaid or incorrectly paid tax. You may need information on tax law if you are:

  • Starting a business
  • Closing or selling a business
  • Changing the structure of your business (e.g. incorporating)
  • Taking on new employees
  • Starting to work in an industry with exceptional tax rules, such as, fishing or construction
  • Starting to work abroad or selling goods overseas

UK tax is administered by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and the majority of tax can now be paid and managed online through HMRC online services.

Tax issues and the law

Many areas of tax law can apply to a small business. Below are links to free online information about some of the most common business tax issues.

Starting your business

Tax and starting a business

Business tax: self-employment – Goverment guide to tax.

Giving your business the best start with tax - HMRC guide to registering your business.

Registering a business with HMRC

Register your new business with HMRC – HMRC form for self assessment, corporation tax, PAYE for employers and VAT.

Registering for self assessment tax returns

Register your new business with HMRC – HMRC form for self assessment, corporation tax, PAYE for employers and VAT.

VAT registration

Register your new business with HMRC – HMRC form for self assessment, corporation tax, PAYE for employers and VAT.

How to keep records

Business records if you're self-employed - HMRC guide.

Keeping your pay and tax records - HMRC guide.

Employee Tax

Pay for employers

Register your new business with HMRC – HMRC form for self assessment, corporation tax, PAYE for employers and VAT.

National insurance

Business tax: self-employment – Government guide to tax.

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Allowances and other information

Allowances, reliefs and incentives

Tax relief and incentives for business – to all types of relief and incentive.

Business relief for inheritance tax – Government guide to what qualifies for relief and how to claim it.

Stopping or selling your business

Stop being self-employed - Government guide.

Selling your business: your responsibilities- Government guide.

Managing expenses

Expenses if you're self-employed – HMRC guide to which expenses are part of your taxable profit.

Simplified expenses if you're self-employed - HMRC guide to simplified expenses, for sole traders and business partnerships that have no companies as partners.

Claim capital allowances – HRMC guide to when buying something for business use may qualify for a capital allowance.

Changing your business

Tell HMRC about a change to your business - Guide on changing name or moving address.

Specialist business tax information (examples)

What you must do as a Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) subcontractor.

What you must do as a Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) contractor.

Share fisherman: Income Tax and National Insurance contributions.

Share fisherman: tax budgeting scheme.

Tax law advisers

As a small business owner, you may decide to take tax law advice. There are many different types of people who can give you tax law advice. These include:

For a list of questions to ask a legal services provider before you take legal advice, visit our provider checklist.

Last reviewed: 24 August 2015