Over that last few weeks I have been reading various posts on Facebook which have left me dumbfounded. The amount of Facebook pages which are obviously trading, yet don't seem to know or choose to ignore the laws that businesses have to adhere to, is scary.
Now I don't claim to be completely knowledgeable about the ins and outs of running a micro business, but I do know the basics.
1. If you intend to sell, even if it's for a hobby, you NEED to register with HMRC. Many people say they're running a hobby business and do not make enough to pay tax on. This is not your decision to make, you need to send a return. Even Charities have to do tax returns. Find more details here.
2. Make sure you know and understand all of the Distance Selling Regulations. These are found here.
3. PLI - Public Liability Insurance. Whilst this is not a legal requirement, I believe it's vital in today's litigious society. Could you afford to pay someone out if they filed a claim against you? It's not that expensive if you look about. If you're planning to do craft fairs then many will ask for a copy of your PLI insurance before they'll let you have a stall. Also if you're planning on organising your own fairs then you will need appropriate insurance also.
4. Make sure you label your products properly...for example, if you make collectible dolls, you should state that they are not suitable for children to cover yourself. If you sell bath and body products I believe you need certificates to prove they've been properly tested. I think if you sell food products you need certifications too...(please feel free to put me right on this) as well as correct labelling for allergies etc.
A few months ago a friend of mine made a comment on a Facebook Page pointing out that the person had admitted selling without being registered. The said person then tried to retract that saying the page was just for showing off her hobby, (however there were loads of comments regarding prices and delivery times that suggested otherwise). My friend then got a barrel of abuse from this pages likers....she got called jealous, a hater and all sorts. People were telling the person that it was ok to sell if it was only her hobby etc.....then when it was pointed out by others that this was not the case, more abuse was thrown. All my friend was trying to do was point out that HMRC visit Facebook and websites to check for people trading without registering. Another argument that came out was, 'Everyone else is doing it....so why shouldn't I?' This doesn't make it right. It's also hugely unfair to the thousands that are trading legally having registered and who have to factor this into their prices. These people who break the law and are able to sell cheaply are undermining the creative talents of those who 'do it by the book' and I don't like that.
This post may not make me popular, but if you're selling your wares, you need to be doing it right! I am hoping that it will not apply to many, but if it helps one person who didn't realise what was needed then it was worth my while :)
Please do let me know your thoughts.....
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