2023/24 tax year changes that sole traders should know about

One of the most important dates for UK sole traders is April 6, because it signals the start of the new UK tax year.

It’s the day when most UK tax rule changes come into force – and that can make a big difference to your self-employed sole trader take-home. The start of a new tax year can also be the perfect time to get into better tax admin habits and try to find ways to reduce your tax bill.

So, what key tax changes are planned from 6 April 2023 and how do they impact self-employed sole traders? Our friends at GoSimpleTax provide some insight below.     

Income Tax

Although this will only impact higher-earning sole traders and ordinary partnership members, on 6 April 2023 the Income Tax additional rate threshold (ART) will be reduced from £150,000 to £125,140 a year.

Why that figure? Well, when you earn £125,140 or more a year, you don’t get the £12,570 standard Personal Allowance (PA), because £1 of the PA is taken away for every £2 of your income that’s above £100,000.

According to HMRC, about 232,000 more taxpayers will now have to pay the additional rate of Income Tax, which would not have been the case had the threshold remained at £150,000. For sole traders with income between £125,140 and £150,000, the average cash loss will be £621 in 2023/24, says HMRC. Sole traders with income above £150,000, on average, will be £1,256 worse off in 2023/24.

The additional rate of Income Tax will remain at 45% in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but it will rise from 46% to 47% in Scotland from April 2023. The higher rate of Income Tax in Scotland will also go up from 41% to 42%, which will impact the take-home of higher-earning sole traders in Scotland.

National Insurance contributions

Self-employed sole traders usually pay two types of National Insurance contributions: Class 2 and Class 4.

  • From 6 April, the Class 2 NIC threshold remains the same; they’re payable on income of more than £6,725 a year, but they are to rise by 30p to £3.45 per week.
  • The Class 4 NIC threshold (“Lower Profits Limit”) will increase from 6 April 2023 from £11,908 to £12,570. However, the Class 4 NIC rate will decrease from 9.73% to 9%, which is payable on income of ​​£12,570 to £50,270, with 2% Class 4s payable on income above £50,270.  

Capital Gains Tax

If you sell a “chargeable asset” such as land, property, plant, machinery, shares, registered trademarks or “goodwill” (ie your business’s reputation) etc, after 6 April 2023, you could end up paying thousands of pounds more in Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

That’s because the annual exempt amount (AEA – how much gain you can make after disposing of an asset before CGT is due) will decrease from £12,300 to £6,000 in 2023/24. From 6 April 2024, the AEA will again be reduced to just £3,000 for sole traders and others.

After the AEA is accounted for, basic rate Income Tax payers pay 18% CGT on gains made from selling residential property (10% on gains from other chargeable assets). Higher-rate Income Tax payers pay 28% CGT on gains made from selling residential property and 20% on gains from disposal of other chargeable assets.  

Dividend Allowance

Many sole traders earn additional income from share dividend payments. From 6 April 2023, the Dividend Allowance will be reduced from £2,000 to £1,000. This is the amount that you can earn in dividend payments before tax is payable. In April 2024, the Dividend Allowance will again be halved to just £500.

The amount of tax you pay on dividend income above the Dividend Allowance, after the Personal Allowance, depends on your Income Tax band;

  • Basic rate (£12,571 to £50,270 taxable income) = 8.75%.
  • Higher rate (£50,271 to £125,140 taxable income after 6 April) = 33.75%.
  • Additional rate (over £125,140 taxable income from 6 April) = 39.35%.

Making Tax Digital

In late 2022, HMRC announced its decision to delay introducing Making Tax Digital for Income Tax (MTD for ITSA). It was supposed to be introduced from April 2024, for sole traders and landlords with a taxable income of more than £10,000. Many sole traders may have decided to voluntarily start complying with MTD requirements from April 2023.

However, the first phase of MTD for ITSA won’t now be introduced until April 2026 and it will only apply to sole traders and landlords with taxable income of more than £50,000 a year, so it will impact far fewer people in the first phase. Further phases of introduction are planned after April 2026, although it’s not yet clear when sole traders earning below £30,000 a year will be affected.

How will MTD change reporting requirements?

  • Under MTD for ITSA, sole traders must maintain digital records of their income and expenses and send a digital quarterly summary to HMRC using MTD-compatible software (or “bridging software” that enables compliance with MTD reporting requirements while using existing accounting software).
  • Then, at the end of the year, you must send a digital statement to HMRC, confirming that the figures you’ve submitted are correct, with any accounting adjustments made.
  • You’ll also need to make a final declaration, confirming any other income that you’ve received. HMRC will then confirm how much tax you owe, although you’ll have a rough idea at the end of each quarter.

Could you pay less tax?

You can file your 2022-23 Self Assessment tax return any time from 6 April 2023. According to HMRC, 66,465 2021/22 Self Assessment tax returns were filed on 6 April 2022 (almost twice the 36,939 Self Assessment tax returns filed on 6 April 2018). You don’t have to do it so early, but the sooner you do it, the better.

Not only will it mean you avoid the hassle each year that comes from leaving your Self Assessment tax return until January (the online filing deadline is midnight on the 31st), but also you can find out much sooner whether you can get a tax rebate.

The Cashplus Business Bank account works hard to save you time and money with useful tools to help you stay on top of your business' finances, including tax. From submitting VAT returns in Online Banking to easy integrating with most leading accountancy software, you can track spending, categorise purchases and load receipts via the app on the go.

About GoSimpleTax

GoSimpleTax provides a software which submits directly to HMRC and offers a solution for freelancers, the self-employed, sole traders and anyone with income outside of PAYE to file their self-assessment. GoSimpleTax gives hints and tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you might have missed, and  does all the calculations for you which may save you ££’s on accountancy fees.

Cashplus customers receive a 30% discount off GoSimpleTax use the whole year through and file for just £38.49!

Related articles


This article was created on 16th May 2023

Please note, the content in this article has been provided by GoSimpleTax Limited and is not guidance from Cashplus Bank. Please note, Cashplus Bank makes no representations or warranties of any kind, explicit or implied with respect to the contents of this article. Without limitation, Cashplus Bank does not give legal or tax advice and specifically excludes and disclaims all express or implied warranties and conditions to the fullest extent permitted by law, and any action taken using such content is strictly at the user’s risk.

Terms and Conditions apply, including applicants being resident in the UK & aged 18+ and, if relevant, businesses being based in the UK.

For full website terms including information on Cashplus Bank, Mastercard and use of Trademarks, please see our full legal disclosures at https://www.cashplus.com/legal/.

Advanced Payment Solutions Limited (APS), trading as Cashplus Bank, is registered in England and Wales at Cottons Centre, Cottons Lane, London SE1 2QG (No.04947027). APS is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under Firm Reference Number 671140.

APS provides credit facilities subject to approval and affordability, and where accounts continue to meet APS credit criteria.

Mastercard logo