Do you know what you should do if you are planning to run your business from home?

Ok, so you made a decision. You will start and run your business from your home. But have you checked all implications it may have on yourself or even on your property?

Permissions

You may need permission or even separate insurance to run a home business. You will also have to check if you will need to pay business rates.

You will need to inform and get permission from your landlord (if you are renting a residential property) or your mortgage provider.

If you plan on making any significant alterations to your home, you may need to contact your local planning office.

If you are planning to get a lot of customers or deliveries, you may want to place a sign or your property – that would require a license from the local council to run your business.

Insurance

You may need insurance for your business. Home insurance may not cover your business (e.g., stock, computers, customers visiting your premises). You can find an authorised insurer on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) website.

Tax allowances

If you’re a sole trader or part of a business partnership, you can include your business costs in your Self Assessment tax return.

You can claim a proportion of the cost of things like council tax, heating, lighting, phone calls, and broadband. You can use a flat rate to calculate your simplified allowable expenses from 2021 to the 2022 tax year.

You may need to pay Capital Gains Tax on the part of your property you used for your business if you sell your home.

Business rates

You may have to pay business rates on the part of your property that you use for your business.

This depends on whether the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) (local assessor in Scotland) has given a rateable value to a part of your home.

You’ll still have to pay Council Tax on the rest of your property.

To check if you have to pay business rates, contact the VOA (or your local assessor in Scotland).

Valuation Office Agency
03000 501 501 (England)
03000 505 505 (Wales)

Health and safety

You’ll need to manage health and safety as you would with any other business.

Effective health and safety performance comes from the top; members of the board have both collective and individual responsibility for health and safety. Consiliago can offer guidance for all directors, governors, trustees, officers, and their equivalents in the private, public and third sectors.

Good preparation helps you to gain the commitment of your employees and their representatives so that they feel involved and enthusiastic about tackling health and safety together.

 

As an employer, you’re required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

Assessing risk is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace.

How do I know if the law applies?

The law will apply if:

  • you are an employer
  • your work activity is specifically mentioned in the regulations, this includes work in construction, agriculture, railways or work with gas, asbestos, or genetically modified organisms
  • your work activity poses a risk to the health and safety of anyone else

How do I know if I create a risk to others?

Think about the types of activities you undertake as part of your work and ask yourself if they pose a risk to the health or safety of others.

You have a duty to protect yourself and others from the risks your work creates, even if this is only for a small part of your overall work activity. However, in practical terms, if you are self-employed you will not have to do anything where there is no risk to others.

Can other people be affected by your work activities? If so, think about the services that you provide to them, in particular:

  • Your working environment? Do you work in a garage, workshop or workplace where other people have access? Could you harm their health or safety?
  • The equipment, materials or substances that you use? Could someone be burnt, scalded, crushed, trip over or fall? Does your work activity create noise, dust, fumes? Do you use any materials or substances that could injure someone if they came into contact with them?

If the answer is yes to any of above, then it is likely that your work activities may pose a risk to the health and safety of another person and the law will apply to you.

Examples - does the law apply to me?

It is impossible to list all work activities undertaken by the self-employed, the examples below of a range of self-employed jobs are illustrative and will help you determine the types of jobs that do or don’t create risks and whether or not they are likely to be exempt from health and safety.  

  • Accountant – I am a self-employed accountant and I am proposing to take on a work placement student, will the law apply to me?
    Yes, you will have duties as an employer and will need to take steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of your employees.
  • Employer – I am an employer, will this effect the way in which I manage sub-contractors?
    No, as an employer you have duties under health and safety law to satisfy yourself that the contractor you choose can do the job safely and without risks to health. The proposed changes will not alter the duties you as an employer have to contractors.
  • Hairdresser – I’m a self-employed hairdresser, does the law apply to me?
    If you use bleaching agents or similar chemicals then yes, the law will apply to you. If you are simply washing and cutting hair, then health and safety law will no longer apply.
  • Dressmaker – I work at home altering garments and making soft furnishings, does the law apply to me?
    No, health and safety law will not apply to you.
  • Photographer – I take photographs of weddings and special occasions for clients which means that sometimes they visit my studio to discuss arrangements; does the law apply to me?
    No, health and safety law will not apply to you.
  • Artist – I produce cards, gifts and pictures for sale at markets and fairs, does the law apply to me?
    No, health and safety law will not apply to you.
  • Baker – I run a cake business from home, does the law apply to me?
    No, health and safety law will not apply to you. However you still need to follow Food Safety Regulations.
  • Office work – I work in an office at home, does the law apply to me?
    It doesn’t depend on whether you’re at home; it is the work activity that matters. So, if you’re working on a client’s accounts, the law will no longer apply. If you’re writing a manual, which someone will use to operate machinery, then the law will still apply.
  • Advice  I am a health and safety consultant and visit clients to give advice, does the law apply to me?
    Yes, your clients will act on your advice and this affects how other people do their job.
  • Landlords – I let rooms and properties to tenants; does the law apply to me?
    Yes, you have specific responsibilities under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations

Our company can assess your situation and explain which H&S of Food Safety law applies to your business.

Book your free discovery call today

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