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Declaring tax as a Freelance Worker

If you work freelance, you must register as self-employed


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in employment


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The first thing you need to do if you are working freelance, is declare yourself as self-employed to Revenue. You can do this online if you’ve registered for PAYE Anytime.

If you haven’t, don’t worry, you can just register for Revenue Online Services (ROS) and use this. Registering for ROS will take a while, Revenue recommends you allow yourself up to 8 working days to complete the registration in full.

There are three steps to this:

  • Applying for ROS Access Number (RAN): this will be posted to your home address
  • Applying for Digital Certificate: you need your RAN to complete this step. Input the RAN and complete the relevant sections, a ROS system password will then be posted out to you.
  • Getting your Digital Certificate: use your ROS System password to download your ROS Digital Certificate. Once you’ve done this you can access ROS to file and pay your taxes.

You must register for ROS, self service myAccount is not enough to pay tax as a self employed sole trader.

If you have not got a Companies Registration Office CRO number, it might be a good idea to apply for one, as you can use this on ROS and it allows you to register yourself as a company, and use the .ie domain for your website.

As someone who is self-employed, it falls solely on you to assess your tax credits and how much you are liable to pay. You can choose to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to do this for you if you wish, but if you don’t or can’t, then you must take on this responsibility yourself. You will pay tax under the self-assessment system, and fall into PRSI Class S. If you are entitled to PAYE tax credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, these can combine to a maximum of €1650 tax credit.

The deadline for filing preliminary tax for 2015 is 31 October 2016, so please make sure you allow yourself enough time to complete everything or else you’ll be penalised with late fees. There are two really important forms you need. They are:

  • Form 11 for self assessment
  • Form TR1 for registering as a Sole Trader

If you register for ROS before 31 August (for tax returns for the previous year), then ROS will automatically calculate how much tax you are liable to pay. If not, you’ll have to do that yourself. You are assessed on your net profit for a 12 month accounting period.

During the first year that you work freelance, you don’t have to file your tax returns. You do this in the second year of self-employment for the first and second year. But, you must file your preliminary tax has to be filed anyway.

Although you’re not required to submit receipts or invoices to Revenue, you must keep all documentation relating to your finances for a period of 6 years. This includes receipts, bank statements, bills, etc. This is in case you are audited by Revenue.

Citizens Information have a very useful guide to this, and the Revenue has guides available for free download. 

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Published September 6th, 2016
Last updated November 23rd, 2016
Tags work tax self-employed
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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