I am about to start a consulting project and do not yet have a registered business name. I am thinking of registering as a sole trader.

can I issue a invoices for my services or they can only be issued after i have completed registration with the HMRC ?

I would think that this would result in a cheque to a company that doesn't have a bank account yet.

Unless paid in cash?

I assume if it's invoiced and paid within the same tax year as you become registered it would not be a problem

  • As a sole trader, you can use your personal bank account. However, I wouldn't recommend it. You could, however, use a cheaper alternative personal account for your business, but if your business has a high amount of transactions, you might be breaching the T&C's of your account. – Invariant Change Aug 24 at 13:31

Yes, as long as you register as soon as possible. It's easy to register so there's usually no real reason to take a prolonged time to do so.

One would argue that you are not self-employed until you receive your first payment. And there can be good reasons for not registering before you start, such as you got a last minute job where there's no internet connection.

However, if you didn't register for an unusual amount of time, for no reason, they might issue penalties.

See PMA Business Services FAQ

It’s important to let HMRC know that you’re self-employed as soon as possible – even if you already fill in a tax return each year. If you don’t tell them as soon as you begin self employment you may also incur penalties. You can let HMRC know about your new self-employment by registering online for business taxes. You’ll be asked for information about yourself and your business. HMRC will set up tax records for you using the information you provide, for example:

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