The fastest way to start a business is as a sole trader. You can start trading straight away and have three months to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of your self-employed status before you incur a fine.

You can download the form to register as a sole trader from here.

Once you get going as a sole trader you can employ people just as you would do in a limited company, but you have to tell HMRC that you are doing so.

You can find more information about registering as an employer here or call the New Employer Helpline on 0300 200 3211.

A contract of employment is made as soon as the job offer is accepted.

The term ‘contract’ can be a bit misleading and is often misused as it doesn’t refer to a piece of paper – initially, it doesn’t have to be in writing. However, your employee is entitled to a written statement of the main terms of the contract within two months of starting work.

You can get more information about employment contracts here and you can buy a standard written statement here.

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