Selling or closing a business

Stopping self-employment

Guide

There are a number of steps to take and points to consider if you want to stop being self-employed.

Notifying HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

You must tell HMRC if you've stopped trading as a sole trader or you're ending or leaving a business partnership. Tell HMRC you're stopping self-employment. HMRC will then cancel your Class 2 National Insurance contributions.

Finalising your Income Tax

You'll still need to complete and send your Self Assessment tax return before the deadline for the tax year in which your self-employment ended.

Log in and file your Self Assessment tax return.

Capital Gains Tax if you sell or dispose of assets

If you sell or dispose of business assets - for example buildings, equipment, fixtures and fittings, or even the business' reputation ('goodwill') - you may also need to pay Capital Gains Tax on the 'profit' (or gain) that you make.

You may be able to claim reliefs - particularly Entrepreneurs' Relief - that may reduce or postpone any gains. If you sell your own assets, you may have Capital Gains Tax to pay too.

There are other tax reliefs to reduce the amount of Capital Gains Tax that you may be able to claim.

Offsetting costs against your tax bill

There will be costs involved in the process of closing down your business including:

  • the cost of administration, postage and telephone charges to notify the relevant authorities - eg HMRC, institutions, suppliers and customers
  • the cost of professional services from solicitors, accountants, estate agents, etc

Many of these costs may be allowable expenses, which can be offset against your tax bill. See expenses if you're self-employed.

Offsetting losses against your tax bill

If you were self-employed and you've made a loss, you may be able to offset this loss against your tax bill for the previous three years.

Read more on using losses when your business starts or ends.