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National Insurance

When working for an employer, your income tax and National Insurance will usually be deducted from your pay cheque so you won’t need to have worried about this tax in the past.

If you are working from home as an employee, then your PAYE and NI will still be taken care of by your employer.

If you are self-employed (check your tax status) and working from home, you will need to keep meticulous records of all your financial transactions as you are responsible for calculating your own taxes.  That way you won't need to fret about having all of the information to hand when it is time to send off your tax return each April.

Some people will use a paper form to fill in their tax returns but HM Revenue & Customs suggests that it is simpler to do your self-assessment forms online. Being a homeworker, there is a good chance that you know your way around the internet, but be sure to contact the authorities early if you’d rather fill in a paper form as the deadlines for this will be different.

In addition to the tax payments owed, which will be calculated through your end of year returns, people who work from home on a self-employed basis will need to organise their own National Insurance payments. Most workers fall under the Class 2 National Insurance band, which for the tax year 2012-2013 works out with contributions of around £2.65 a week. But bear in mind that you could be exempt from this if your earnings fall below the £5,595 threshold for the tax year.

However, if you do need to make payments, setting up a Direct Debit is one of the most convenient ways of doing so. Once you have registered yourself with HMRC as self-employed, you will be able to organise a system with your bank to ensure that contributions will be automatically deducted from your account on time as and when they are due. It is possible to choose a monthly or six monthly Direct Debit system, the payments to which will be altered accordingly if your working circumstances should change so long as you inform the Department for Work and Pensions of your employment status.

In addition, it is worth keeping track of any weeks where you do not work due to illness or any other reason. It is not necessary to make Class 2 National Insurance contributions for such weeks and you might find that you are eligible for National Insurance credits instead.

Making sure your National Insurance contributions are on time is important because they will contribute towards personal cover for the future, such as Maternity Allowance, Bereavement Benefit and State Pensions. If you make any late payments, there is a chance that future claims for these benefits will be affected.

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