The New Year has just hit, which means so is the Tax Return Deadline (31st January 2018). For actors, understanding tax is imperative. With the correct knowledge and guidance you can save money and time, as well as avoid tax penalties.

From the second you begin to trade as a self-employed actor you should let the HMRC know by registering as self-employed. Your income is potentially taxable.

The basic tax requirements for a self-employed individual are relatively simple. The essential taxes you will be paying are income tax; national insurance and (if your income warrants it) you will have to register for VAT.

However, as actors, your taxes are unique. There are numerous special tax rules and exemptions that apply to self-employed actors, groups of performers and companies.

As a self-employed actor it is essential to understand your professions eligible expenses and deductions. Expenses that are wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the trade are allowed to be claimed as an allowable expense for tax purposes. Some expenses have dual purpose, meaning they relate to both personal and business use. The business purpose of these elements are also claimable.

Examples of claimable expenses for actors are :

  • Costumes- clothing expenses are allowable if they are used solely for work purposes.

  • Cosmetic Surgery- a clear explanation of the business need for the work done would have to be stated. If the expenditure on cosmetic surgery has been incurred solely for professional purposes then it is allowable.

  • Accountancy and other professional fees related to work

  • Administration costs (e.g. stationary and postage)

  • Advertising

  • Use of home costs- this would be apportioned appropriately and includes (council tax, gas, electricity, insurance, water rates, mortgage interest/rent)

  • Website costs

  • Subscriptions related to work (e.g. Equity, Spotlight, CastingCallPro, Directors UK, Stage Managers Association)

  • Maintenance costs for instruments and insurance

  • Make up and hairdressing that relates specifically to work

  • Start up costs

  • Telephone, mobile and internet

To calculate your income you include all payments for performances, guest appearances, income from teaching, voice over work, film and video work, directing, choreography etc. All income must be stated on your tax return.

For more help and guidance on taxes for actors contact our amazing accountants THEATACCOUNTS specialists in accounting for actors and other creative professionals.

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