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Embarking on the journey of self-employment can be a thrilling venture, offering freedom and flexibility in your work life. However, it can also present unique challenges, especially when you find yourself in a position of being registered as self-employed but with no income in the UK. This situation can raise numerous questions about managing finances, understanding your obligations, and accessing support available to you. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what steps you should take, how Universal Credit payments work for the self-employed, and how to claim tax credits, ensuring you’re well-equipped during this uncertain time.

Understanding Your Position

The Basics of Being Self-Employed with No Income

When you register as self-employed, you’re taking on the responsibility to manage your taxes and National Insurance contributions. However, a common scenario many face is a period where their business does not generate income. This could be due to various reasons such as market conditions, the nature of the business cycle, or even the initial phase of setting up your business.

The Impact on Your Finances

Having no income while self-employed can significantly impact your finances, affecting your ability to cover personal expenses and business costs. It’s crucial to understand the support systems in place and how to manage your financial obligations during these times.

What financial support can I get if my self-employed business isn’t making money?

Navigating the Support System

Universal Credit for the Self-Employed

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly and can support you if you’re on a low income or out of work. If you’re self-employed with no income, you might wonder how Universal Credit payments work in your situation. You can find out more ways to keep your self-employed income and expenses more consistent on the Money Advice Service website.

Minimum Income Floor

The Minimum Income Floor (MIF) is an assumed level of earnings the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) uses to calculate your Universal Credit payment if you’ve been self-employed for more than 12 months. However, if you’re earning less than the MIF, your actual earnings are used instead. This can be particularly relevant if you have no income, as it means your Universal Credit payment may be calculated based on your actual financial situation, offering a vital safety net.

Claiming Tax Credits

Tax credits, such as Working Tax Credit, can provide additional support. However, with the introduction of Universal Credit, these are being phased out for many people. If you’re newly self-employed and have no income, it’s more likely you’ll be directed towards Universal Credit. However, understanding both systems is important for making informed decisions about your financial support. GOV.UK has a step-by-step guide to working out your income if you’re self-employed, which you can check here.

Am I eligible for Universal Credit if my self-employment income is zero?
Benefits: registered as self-employed but no income uk

Practical Steps to Take

Record Keeping and Reporting

Even with no income, maintaining accurate records of your business activities is essential. This includes any business-related expenses, as these can affect your tax obligations and potential benefits.

Seeking Advice and Support

Navigating the complexities of financial support while self-employed can be daunting. Seeking advice from financial advisors or utilizing resources like Contend can provide clarity and guidance tailored to your situation. Contend’s AI legal experts can help you understand your rights and obligations, offering peace of mind during uncertain times.

How do I keep accurate records for my self-employed business?

Contend: Your Partner in Legal Guidance

At Contend, we understand the challenges of being self-employed, especially when facing financial uncertainty. Our AI legal experts are here to provide you with personalized legal guidance, ensuring you’re informed about the support available to you and how to navigate the legal aspects of your situation. Chat with our AI legal assistant today and get clear, trustworthy answers in 5 minutes or less.

What legal support is available for self-employed individuals facing financial uncertainty?


Being registered as self-employed but with no income in the UK can be a challenging situation, but it’s not without solutions. By understanding the support systems in place, such as Universal Credit and tax credits, and taking proactive steps to manage your finances and seek advice, you can navigate this period more effectively. Remember, you’re not alone—resources like Contend are here to support you every step of the way.

Take action today by exploring your options and seeking the guidance you need. With the right support and information, you can weather this period and emerge stronger on the other side of financial uncertainty. You can ask HMRC to let you pay income tax and National Insurance monthly instead of yearly – this is called a ‘budget payment plan’ on GOV.UK.

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This material is for general information only and does not constitute
tax, legal or any other form of advice. You should not rely on any
information contained herein to make (or refrain from making) any
decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your
own particular situation. Contend Inc is not regulated by the
Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.