Allowable Expenses

Do you know what your allowable expenses are?

I bet that got your attention. It is a question I get asked on a daily basis. “Can I claim XYZ as a cost of my business?”. “What about YSR?”, “what are the allowable expenses for actors?”; “I am a music teacher, what can I claim for my home allowance?”, what are the allowable expenses for musicians?” . You get the picture – a very popular topic.

There are general rules that apply to all businesses and they can kinda be found in the Business Income Manual published by HMRC, but wading through that can have you going round in circles.

What you really want is somebody in authority to tell you what is allowable and also what is not allowable.

When I wrote my book “The Singing Accountants Guide to tax and Accounts”  (you can buy it from my website by clicking >>> here <<< ) I dedicated a whole chapter to this topic.

Top 10 allowable expenses for Musicians, Singers, Actors & other performers:

  1. Agent & booking fees
  2. Travelling costs to self employed work (other rules may apply) for example theatre, orchestral rehearsals, teaching work)
  3. Clothing & footwear – certain conditions apply
  4. Actors props & teaching aids
  5. Play text, sheet music, recordings
  6. Headshots, show reels, sound recordings, Voice reels
  7. Print, postage & stationery
  8. Mileage for self employed work
  9. Training costs if an enhancement of skills
  10. Employee costs (but not the nanny or child sitter!) and paying other musicians/actors for work done.


Typical non-allowable expenses

This is just as important to know about so you don’t claim for costs that may cause a problem with HMRC if your return was looked at by them. Here are just a few:

  1. Gym & health club memberships (Check out the HMRC page here >>>> );
  2. Medical costs and alternative health treatments eg prescriptions & medicines, osteopath, dentist, vocal zones, optician costs, diabetic sensors (check out the HMRC page here >>>>  );
  3. Training costs that lead to a recognisable qualification eg university fees, PhD costs, or training for a new skill or trade;
  4. Tax & NI bills from prior years as well as student loan payments;
  5. Costs to entertain agents & others.


Would you like that chapter from the book?

For more information and to learn more about other allowable expenses please complete the boxes below and we’ll email a link to our guide “Expenses for Performers”.  It will come over by email and there will be a link in that email and that will open up the document.   It is a guide only, rules do change, and best to seek advise for your personal situation.