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Posted Sun, 16 Jul 2023 22:38:20 GMT by Karl Aranha
I would like to know about self employment income. Apart from my normal PAYE income, I do perform mystery shopping jobs and I am part of different focus group research panels where I get paid a small amount to provide feedback and views on different products and services. I am registered with around 5 mystery shopping companies and 3 to 4 research panel companies. In the self income section, HMRC asks about 5 businesses that I get self employment income from. Firstly, I am not sure whether I am at the right section or not as each of the 5 businesses ask me questions about the business which I am not aware of, for example, "if your business...." but this is not my business as I do not own the mystery shopping company and I only get income from them for doing assignments for them where I am paid a small amount for doing the assignment. How should I fill questions about the questions HMRC are asking about the mystery shopping company as I do not know all this information of that company. I only do the assignments they assign to me and then I get paid for them. Am I doing this correctly? Secondly, I am registered with more than 8 or 9 different businesses or companies and so how do I fill in all these additional companies that I get income from if HMRC only allows me to enter 5 businesses only?
Posted Fri, 21 Jul 2023 13:05:49 GMT by HMRC Admin 32

You are not submitting tax returns for these companies, but for yourself.  Your self employment trade (business) is 'mystery shopping', something that you are  paid by 5 companies to do.  You have one trade (self employment) and that trade is mystery shopping.  You have 5 clients within that trade, who pay you to mystery shop. For this reason, only one set of account are required for you trade as a mystery shopper. All 5 client's payment and all your expenses incurred with all 5 clients, are contained in that set of accounts. It is your set of accounts that are shown on the self employment section.

You do not mention what the other 8 or 9 clients pay you to do. If they all pay you to do the same work, then you have 1 trade with 8 or 9 clients. For example a sole trader, who is a plumber, take on hundreds of contracts each year. Each contract with a different individual or company. They keep one set of account for all the money coming in to and going out of the business. They report only 1 self employment on their tax return, that of a plumber.  

If you are still unsure, please contact our self assessment webchat at:

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Thank you.

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