Artists' Thoughts: Taxes. We need to do them too.
Published by playactors on January 8, 2019

Let’s get the heavy stuff out of the way – tax return is coming up in January. If you are self-employed, this can be a daunting time of year, especially for those of us who have always been bad at math and economical logic.
It is unfortunately a necessity, so here’s a few tips and articles that can help you out:

  • Get QuickBooks Self-Employed! Most self-employed people swear by this app, that for only a few quid a month gives you a platform that is linked to your bank account where everything can be sorted; mileage, keeping photos of receipts, sorting out what is personal and business. In the end of the year it will be a helpful tool in preparing your self-assessment.
    Side tip: the app also allows you to split your bills, for example if you work from home twice a week. You can split rent, heat etc by percentage into business and personal.
  • Keep your receipts if you don’t take pictures of them and don’t claim every single meal as a business meeting, because people do actually get caught and it’s just not worth it. 
  • Check if any of your other work is already deducting tax at the source. No need to double pay it!
  • Some things relating to your career can be deducted, some can’t, it’s a fine and confusing line. But here’s a list of deductible things that help a bit: https://www.gov.uk/expenses-if-youre-self-employed
  • Your personal allowance this year is £11,850. This means you can earn this much before paying income tax (you still have to pay national insurance tax, which will be £153.40 a year for most self employed people).
    Make sure you set money aside every month to pay your taxes as the basic income tax rate is 20%. 
  • There are plenty of help to get out on the big wide web. This article for example, explains quite well how to get started with taxes for actors: https://uk-taxreturn.co.uk/index.php/tax-guide-for-self-employed-actors/.
    And you would be surprised how good www.gov.uk can be, mainly if you call them up, they’re super nice and helpful.
  • If you have the finances to hire an accountant, there a plenty that can magically fix all your taxes as a one-off fee. They can be a bit pricey, but if you’re okay with getting an online accountant they can be as cheap as £80. On QuickBooks Self-Employed there is a directory of accountants that do free advice as well. 
  • The deadline to complete your tax return is 31st of January 2019!