Know Your Rights: Becoming Self-Employed

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

What does being self-employed mean?

When you start working for yourself, you are classed as ‘self-employed’ and a ‘sole trader’. A sole trader is when you set up a business on your own.

In general, you are a self-employed sole trader if you:

• Run your own business and are responsible for its successes and failures
• Have several customers
• Regularly sell goods or services to make a profit
• Are paid for the service you provide
• Decide how, when and where you work

If your business fails, your personal assets could be used to pay back people or organisations that your business owes money to.

If you want to keep your personal assets and business assets separate, you can set up a ‘limited company’ instead.

Continued below…


How can I become a sole trader?

To legally become a sole trader, you must register as self-employed with Revenue. You do not have to use a business name.

But, if you choose to use a business name, you must register your business name with the Companies Registration Office (CRO)

How do I pay tax as a self-employed person?

You must register for income tax with Revenue as a self-employed sole trader, using the Revenue Online Service (ROS). When you are registered with Revenue as a self-employed person, you pay income tax, PRSI and the Universal Social Charge under the self-assessment system rather than the PAYE system (which is used for employees). Self-assessment means that you are responsible for making your own assessment of tax due.

• Read more about becoming self-employed and paying tax as a self-employed person on or you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860.

The telephone lines are staffed from 10am -4pm from Monday to Friday. The National Phone Service is available on 0818 07 4000 Monday to Friday 9am – 8pm. Alternatively, you can email on or log on to

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