Paying Tax as a Private Tutor

Please note that the information below is only general information.  For concise information on paying tax as a private tutor, please contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, HMRC.


From the moment you become self-employed as a private educator, you need to register as self employed with HMRC within 3 months, as you would with any other form of self-employment.  Technically, as soon as you receive your first payment for your private tuition services, you need to declare those earnings.  Failing to register as self employed can result in you being fined.


How To Register As a Self Employed Tutor

The easiest way to register with HMRC to give private lessons is to do so online.  By completing a registration form, you are making HMRC aware that you are now working for yourself and you then become responsible for keeping track of your income and your expenses.


Once you are registered as self employed, you will be sent a Self Assessment Tax Return every year after the 5th April which will instruct you on how to declare your earnings for the previous year.  This form will also highlight your deadline dates for when you need to return the form.  If you choose to complete the form online, you are normally given an extended deadline to do so.  Once you have submitted your form, you will then be contacted by HMRC and told how much income tax you owe for the period in question.


Paying National Insurance Contributions

Being self-employed also means paying your own Class 2 National Insurance contributions and if you earn over a certain threshold, you also need to pay Class 4 contributions.  It is possible to defer your National Insurance payments and depending on your earnings, you may also be exempt from paying National Insurance altogether.  In order to find out if this applies to you, please contact HMRC for further guidance and information.


Paying Value Added Tax (VAT)

If you are earning over a certain amount, you may also be eligible for paying VAT on the services that you provide.  In the 2013/2014 tax year, you have to be earning more than £79,000 before you have to register to pay.  It is also possible to register for VAT voluntarily.


Completing Your Self Assessment Form

In order to ensure that the process is as stress-free as possible, it’s a good idea to gather all the information that you need beforehand.  It’s important to check that all your relevant paperwork is up to date.  Legally, everyone who is self-employed needs to keep records of their income.


Here is a brief outline of some of the information that you may need before you begin completing your Self Assessment form:


- Records of your income and anything you can claim as expenditure like teaching materials

- If you are both employed and self-employed, you'll need to know your PAYE earnings

- Information on ‘other income’ including investments, savings and pensions

- Details of any capital gains that you might have

- Your P60

- Your bank statements or access to your online banking account

- A cheque book and paying-in book


Will I File My Return Online Or By Post?

Filing your tax return by post is the traditional method for declaring your earnings although there are several advantages to filing online. By filing over the internet, you are normally given a longer deadline and are able to save your application as you go.


Am I Self Employed Doing More Than One Job?

If you have more than one self-employed job you'll need to fill in some additional pages on the tax return form.  The supplementary pages - SA103S or SA103F – provide a space for you to declare any earnings you have gained from other jobs where you are self-employed.


What Form Do I Fill In?

The form that you need to complete is called SA100.  There are guidance notes to help you throughout the form and they tell you which parts you need to complete depending on your circumstances.


HMRC normally send you the forms you need and the guidance notes by post, however, you can also download the forms from the HMRC website.


When is My Tax Return Deadline?

The tax year starts on the 6th April and lasts until the 5th April the following year.


If you’re returning your completed form by post, your deadline is 31 October.  If you’re completing your forms online, you have until 31 January the following year.  Missing these deadline dates can incur a £100 penalty, regardless of whether you have taxes to pay or not


Additional Advice For Filing Online

Don't leave it until the last minute. In order to file online, you first need to register your login details on the HMRC website.  You are then sent a password by post, which allows you to access the forms online.  Sometimes this password can take a couple of weeks to be sent so make sure you leave plenty of time before you start the process of filing online.


If you're employed as a PAYE employee as well as a private tutor, keep your P60 safe when your employer sends it to you.  If you lose you P60, you can't obtain a new one, you will have to ask your employer for a Statement of Earnings document instead, which shows similar information.


If in doubt, use HMRC’s Self Assessment helpline - 0845 9000 444 and read their guide to filling in your tax return.