Business expenses for actors - top tips from Bambridge Accountants
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 Bambridge Accountants have put together a list of “allowable” expenses and some top tips….
- Agent and booking fees
- Costs of photography, headshots, show reels, voice over files etc.
- Associated costs of networking and actor workshops
- Trade membership (e.g. Equity)
- Casting and member subscriptions (includes Actors Centre membership!)
- Subscriptions to trade publications (e.g. The Stage)
- DVDs, CDs, books, play texts (work research)
- Trips to the theatre, cinema, shows (work research)
- Acting classes, workshops, voice coaching etc (training)
- Clothing (costumes/performance wear, props, hairdressing, stage makeup)
- Travel – this includes travels to/from auditions and acting work (including overseas travel) but not regular commuting costs
- Vehicle and associated costs (insurance, tax, servicing and MOTSs) - If you purchase a vehicle for your work you can claim for a percentage of the purchase price
- Accommodation while away for home (e.g. filming on location)
- Subsistence (food and drink while away from home for work)
- Office costs (rent, utility bills etc.)
- Computing equipment
- Percentage of your phone and Internet bill (if used for business)
- Percentage of rent/mortgage and associated bills (if using home for business)
Things to remember…
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 work purposes).
4. If you are reimbursed for the costs of your expenses you must declare this as income.
If your expenses are not included in the above list you may still be able to claim. Refer to the HMRC website (https://www.gov.uk/expenses-if-youre-self-employed) 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!
About Bambridge Accountants (www.bambridgeaccountants.co.uk)
Based just around the corner from the Actors Centre, Bambridge Accountants specialise in providing accountancy and tax advice to the creative industries.
We are delighted to offer Actors Centre members 25% discount on personal tax returns and are currently offering half-price book keeping for your expenses (£30 instead of £60 an hour) until 14 September 2015. To benefit from these offers please quote ‘Actors Centre’.
If you have any questions about expenses, or you would like to arrange a free initial meeting please call us on 020 3757 9290 or email firstname.lastname@example.org