As a self-employed actor or performer there are many expenses you can claim against your taxable income. The law states that expenses claimed must be “wholly and exclusively incurred in the performance of the business” but it is often confusing to know what this includes.
To help you navigate the expenses minefield we have put together a list of “allowable” expenses and some top tips….
- Agent and booking fees
- Costs for photography, headshots, show reels, voice over files etc
- Associated cost of networking/actors events (e.g. Surviving Actors)
- Trade membership (e.g. Equity)
- Casting & member subscriptions (e.g. Casting Call Pro, To Be Seen, The Actors Centre)
- Subscriptions to trade publications (e.g. The Stage)
- DVDs, CDs, books, play texts etc (work research)
- Trips to the theatre, cinema, shows (work research)
- Acting classes, workshops, voice coaching (training)
- Clothing (costumes/performance wear, props, hairdressing, stage makeup)
- Travel - this includes travel to/from auditions and acting work (including overseas travel) but not regular commuting costs
- Vehicle and associated costs (insurance, tax, servings & MOTs) - If you purchase a vehicle for your work you can also claim against a percentage of the purchase price
- Accommodation while away from home (e.g. filming on location)
- Subsistence (food and drink while away from home for work)
- Office costs (rent, utility bills)
- Computing equipment
- Percentage of your phone and Internet bill (if used for business)
- Percentage of rent/mortgage and associated bills (if using your home for business)
Top tips and things to be aware of…
1. Keep ALL of your receipts - no receipt then no claim!
2. As a general rule, if you are entertaining anyone other than staff expenses are not deductible as they are classified as entertainment. So think twice about picking up the tab for dinner!
3. You cannot claim for clothing where there is a duality of use (e.g. clothing purchased for auditions and rehearsals which you will also wear for non work purposes).
4. If you are reimbursed for the costs of your expenses you must declare this as income.
5. If your expenses are not included on the above list you may still be able to claim. Refer to the HMRC website for further guidance.
If the above seems baffling then you may be pleased to know that the costs of hiring an accountant to complete your tax return and book keeping are also tax deductible! What’s more, until Monday 14 September we are offering half price book keeping (£30 instead of £60/hour).
If you have any questions about expenses, or you would like to arrange a free initial meeting, please call 020 3757 9290 or email us