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Claiming benefit when you are self-employed

Benefit entitlement for self employed people

You may be entitled to help with your council tax and rent costs if you are self employed and on a low income. Please view the Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit pages to see if you are eligible to claim.

If you are entiled to either and have recently set up your business, we will ask for an estimate of the likely income and expenses for the business over the first few months of trading. 

After the first few months you will need to provide details of your income and we will work out your benefit again. If we haven't paid you enough benefit we will pay you more, if we've paid you too much we will ask for it back.

If you have been trading for over 12 months, please provide a full years trading figures. If you do not have audited accounts we will ask you to download and complete the Self Employed questionnaire

It is your responsibility to provide your accounts annually and report any changes in your circumstances.

How we work out your income and expenses

Firstly we work out the total business income for the period in question. This will include all money coming in and business start-up allowances, but will not include sums of capital paid into the business.

We then consider the expenses you have incurred. We cannot deduct any sums for depreciation, business entertaining or capital repayments on loans.

If you are part of a partnership, only your share of the business takings will be counted as income.

Tax and National Insurance

We will calculate income tax and national insurance deductions ourselves based on the net profit of your business. These figures may differ from the amounts worked out by the HM Revenues and Customs, so we cannot accept tax returns as evidence. We also allow half of any private pension contributions you pay. All the above are deducted from your net profit figure to give us the earnings amount to be used to calculate how much housing and council tax benefit you are entitled to.