I'm a UK based freelance website developer, registered as self employed and trading under my own name. I have to be honest that things haven't been going all that well recently so I'm turning my attention more towards writing and social media work.

My problem is a little sensitive if I'm honest because I got talking to a few people who would like me to update their online social media on a regular basis, which is great because it would give me a steady income for as long as I'm doing it. The problem is, the websites that these networks are related to are within the foot fetish industry (Focused on modelling rather than anything pornographic)! However, as you can imagine it is still a little embarrassing for me to admit to working on this sort of thing, even though I have nothing at all against the industry!

If I was to do this I plan on being paid via paypal and would probably get the payer to put a reference number/code when paying so that I can keep a record of income - However I wouldn't want to actually tell the tax man what sites I was specifically working on. So, how would I do these jobs legitimately but keep them secret?

Also, as I'm interested in writing, I see an opportunity to make a little extra cash by opening a blog that somehow ties in with this sort of work and maybe to brand myself as a promoter in the industry, however again I wouldn't want anyone to know that this was me writing it. So if I was to do it, would I have to mention the name of the website on tax returns?F

I don't want to come across as someone who is going to be untruthful about my income, I would just like to keep certain things private if that makes sense.

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    tell the tax man what sites I was specifically working on Taxman doesn't need this information, but your accountant would. There is no harm in working for these websites, if they aren't illegal.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 23:26
  • Thank you @DumbCoder - I know there's no harm in it but to be honest it's not something I want to shout about, lol Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 10:22
  • 1
    I think anyone at HMRC who passes details of your income on, except for legally justified reasons, would find themselves in deep trouble and likely without a job if found out.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 15:08
  • And you don't tell the taxman what work you have done. You tell them what bills you have sent out. Just "Bill #12, issued on Jan 21st 2015, for £1.234". In an audit, they might want to see the bill.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


As @DumbCoder pointed out, you probably won't need to disclose the specific site triggering the income on your tax return, just add it up and file it under the appropriate columns.

In theory HMRC could audit you and look at the precise details. However even if they do, they are bound by strict confidentiality rules under all but extreme circumstances, so the information should be pretty safe.

If you use an accountant she or he would also be bound by confidentiality rules, but if you find it embarrassing then probably best to just do the returns yourself.


Set up a separate company to do this work under - you probably ought to set one up as sole trader isn't as good tax wise.

And all the tax man wants to see is that you can calculate your VAT and pay your NI and taxes.

  • Thanks for the answer - I don't really want to set up a sepperate comapny as to me it's just another project with a blog to go with it! Why isn't sole trader as good for tax? Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 18:27
  • 1
    in the UK for self employed people With a company you can pay your self dividends in a tax efficient way. contractorcalculator.co.uk
    – Pepone
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 19:29
  • Having a company would create more of a trail, as they have to have a list of directors on public record. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 18:34
  • @GaneshSittampalam and your point is? this isn't the place to be asking how I can dodge paying taxes which is the vibe I am getting.
    – Pepone
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 0:07
  • That there's more scope for the work to be visibly associated with the OP, which is what he or she is trying to avoid. The OP explicitly said the question is not about avoiding taxes. Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 6:07

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