Tax for actors: the important information you need to know

Tax for actors can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Dealing with HMRC and filing your tax return might be the least exciting part of working in the creative industries, but it’s an important one. We can help.

Here’s a step by step guide to get you started…

Register as self employed

Even if you only do one day of self employed work, you’ll need to register with HMRC and make sure you declare it so you pay the right tax as a self-employed actor.

You can be both employed and self employed if you’re doing a mixture of work throughout the year – just make sure you keep a record of the tax you pay on a PAYE basis. Keep any P60 and P45 forms you receive from your employer.

Keep your receipts

This is an important part of managing your tax for actors and anyone self-employed. You will need to keep a record of any expenses you will be claiming against tax.

Anything you purchase to help you do your work can be claimed – such as training, headshots, costumes and props, agent fees, professional subscriptions etc.

You may also be able to claim a proportion of expenses like your phone bill if you use it for work, and a percentage of your rent or mortgage if you work from home – but how much will depend on your personal circumstances. An accountant will be able to give you tailored advice on this.

You might want to download an app or some accounting software that lets you record your receipts and expenses digitally.

Don’t leave it until the last minute

Your tax return must be submitted to HMRC by 31 January, and you’ll have to pay any tax you owe by them too.

But you can submit your tax return earlier, and it’s a good idea to do it as soon as the tax year ends in April.

That way, you’ve got longer to save for your tax bill and you know exactly where you stand. Also, if you are due a refund, you will get this back quicker!

Don’t forget about payments on account

If your tax liability is over £1,000 you normally have to pay payments on account – advance payments towards your tax bill which are due by midnight on 31 January and 31 July.

Each payment is half your previous year’s tax bill.

Make sure you’re putting enough aside for your tax bill and be careful not to miss the payment deadline. If payments on account catch you out, you might have to pay interest on late payments.

Hire an accountant to help

An accountant will give you expert advice to make sure you’re not paying more tax than you should.

They will make sure you don’t miss the important deadlines, and give you peace of mind that everything has been filed correctly.

If you’d like help with your taxes, get in touch! At Theataccounts we specialise in tax for actors and we’re here to help.

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