Invoices handed to agencies- taxation
Thread poster: Kristian Madar

Kristian Madar  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 09:31
Member (2008)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Feb 19, 2008

Hello everybody,

As a registered user of Proz, who is thinking about starting a proper membership lately, I would like to turn to you with a plea for professional advice.

The issue is as follows:

having some 5 years of experience as a part time freelance translator in Slovakia, I have ever since worked on the grounds of a work contract with agencies.- having them deduct taxes from my wages.

Now, since nowadays I live in England (for 3 years) I would like to start to work as a freelance translator for UK and international outsourcers-

What should my status be then? Should I have a VAT number and be self-employed deducting my tax, or should I let anyone who gives me work do this for me?

What should an invoice I send after the job contain? Any VAT Nr., or should it only contain my personal data, even if I am not self employed?

Thank you all for your precious advice and best regards,

Kristian Madar


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Julieta Moss
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:31
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm in the same square Mar 25, 2008

Hi Kristian:

I was precisely looking for answers to your questions when I came across your post. I was a registered freelancer in Spain and have recently relocated to UK, so I have started to try and find out how to become a freelancer here.

Apparently, according to what I have found out so far, you only pay VAT/tax if you earn over 4500/5000 GBP a year, and you have to be registered even if you only do one small job during the whole 12 months.

There is no obligation to state your VAT no. in your invoices, just your name and address, because they take up to 6 weeks to send it to you.

Ring 0845 915 4515 to find out more. 0845 6000 643 to get an NI number if you havent got one yet.

And if anybody out there has better info, or can give me a hand and explain me how to make a legal UK invoice (i.e., must I charge VAT at 17.5 % for UK, European or overseas clients, are there any deductions to be made? etc) I will be terribly delighted to hear from you!


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
VAT registration Mar 25, 2008

I'm not sure where Julieta got her info from, since the phone numbers given in her post LOOK LIKE HMRC helplines, but the current registration threshhold for VAT is £64,000 - very generous - but this might well change after the new tax year commences in April....it usually goes up a couple of thousand every year.

What this means is: if you are going to earn, or even think you might earn £64,000 in a single tax year, then you must register for VAT. Otherwise you don't, BUT CAN if you so wish (i.e. voluntary registration).

As far as 'registered even if you only do one small job..." - this refers to something completely different:

If you only do one small job in an entire twelve month period, you should still be registered AS A SELF-EMPLOYED person, and has nothing to do with VAT really. They are separate issues. For a start, I don't think they would even let you register for VAT without checking your current employment status...if you then said to them: 'Oh, I work self-employed, but I'm not registered' I think you'd be in trouble!!

YOU MUST REGISTER as self-employed WITHIN 3 months of doing your first job otherwise you will receive a penalty of £100 (I think).

For newcomers, getting registered as freelance or 'self-employed' is the first step to consider: the easiest way is to phone the helpline numbers and say "I want to register as a self-employed person" and they will take it from there. It should be that simple. (They are quite helpful, even though they are there to collect tax!)

And it wouldn't surprise me if they monitered sites like this from time to time (but I don't know).

VAT is a complicated beast, the best person to ask is an expert - Customs & Revenue helpline for VAT (they do have one) and/or an accountant, preferably one you know or if not, then someone who comes recommended by a friend/colleague.

As far as invoices are concerned, do your own design: as long as it has the relevant info on it, it doesn't matter what it looks like:

your details
client details
invoice number
job details
payment method
etc.

Heck, you could write an invoice on a beer mat if it had all the right info on it!

And the final point is: VAT rules for Uk clients and overseas clients will be different and should be checked directly with HMRC:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/

Hope this helps clarify some things and good luck!!


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Invoices handed to agencies- taxation

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