Category Archives for "Performer"

Why hire a specialist accountant to complete your yearly tax return? Performance Accountancy

Why hire a specialist accountant to complete your yearly tax return?

The problem of managing taxes is crucial to your personal financial success from budgeting, accounting and the dreaded tax return whether it is a self-assessment tax return for the self-employed or annual accounts & tax return for limited companies. A personal tax accountant can make the whole process much more manageable with up-to-date knowledge of the changing tax world and how it may affect you, and if everything is submitted to the accountant online, escape late penalties etc.

A proactive approach to the tax return process can help avoid surprises as accountants like to get tax returns done early in the filing period (always check spam as that is where tax-related emails tend to end up), and you get to know your liabilities early enough to make arrangements in how to pay.

But there are plenty of other reasons to use an accountant.

1. Time-saving: Unless you are utilising apps regularly, you often spend hours or days trying to get your tax data up-to-date for the year, and many people sometimes leave it too late and are then tied up with a mahoosive amount of work. The use of an app and installation of good habits can be put into play if you connect to your accountant, as they can nudge you in the right direction. As a self-employed person, time is one of your most valuable resources. The complexities of the UK tax system can make tax return filing a time-consuming process, which takes you away from your core business tasks. It is also possible of course you hand all the day-to-day stuff to the accountant so saving you time.  Of course, that takes money so it is a time v money situation.

2. Expert in tax law: General tax law can be complicated enough, but all the changes that take place mean you have to be in the know if you go it alone. Professionally qualified accountants have to undertake professional development and update courses each year in order to keep their certification and to operate as a qualified accountant. This way, they can offer you the correct advice at the time to minimise your tax liability. But beware, if you have been doing your tax return incorrectly in the past and you get an accountant that knows the rules and corrects you going forward, it can cost you more than just their fee. Equally though, you may not have been claiming for things you could claim for, so they will then save you money.

3. Peace of mind: That’s nice (sorry – just channelling Mrs Brown). Knowing that a professional is handling your taxes can provide considerable peace of mind. You can rest assured knowing your tax affairs are in order if submitted to the accountant in plenty of time, you’re compliant with the latest laws and regulations, and you’re optimising your tax position.  An accountant can ensure you understand and meet your self-assessment obligations, which can be particularly useful if you’re new to being self-employed.

4. Filing on time with accuracy: A familiar theme here – if you get your data to the accountant when they request it, it will ensure that there is plenty of time to work through the data carefully and give time to file so you can save up for it. There is no point in handing your data over in December/January and expecting everything to be perfect and filled so you don’t get late penalties. If you complete a checklist provided by the accountant, then it is highly possible that everything will be available at the same time and not have to waste energy, time and money having to keep re-starting the work.

5. Awareness of VAT: Although you are responsible for accurate accounting records, you need to keep an eye on your fee income/turnover as to whether you should be registered for VAT (UK fee income/turnover over £85K in a rolling 12-month period). Handing everything over to an accountant near the end of the filing period may show that you should have been VAT registered months ago and that can unearth a whole host of pain. I you are running close to that level, it may be worthwhile engaging an accountant to keep an eye on everything and give you advance warning of the situation.

6. Possible financial advice: I don’t really want to put this one on the list as most accountants are not qualified to offer actual financial advice in terms of pensions, investments, mortgages etc, but they can make you aware of using things like pension contributions and the effect on your tax return, and general money management advice for self-employment and director owned companies.

7. Support with HMRC investigations: Heaven forbid this happens, but in the event of an investigation by HMRC, having an accountant can be invaluable as they can help you navigate the process and prepare the necessary documents required. If you are a member of one of the performance unions, your membership may pay for accountants fees for this and representation.

So that takes into account why you would hire an accountant, but surely all accountants are the same?

So why hire a specialist in the music, arts and entertainment industry?

It is simple in that a specialist accountant will know the ins and outs and the peculiarities that may exist eg subsistence, clothing, grooming etc. Two key areas that a specialist can help you with are capital allowances, especially on instruments and overseas tax deductions.

As a self-employed individual or a director of your own limited company, having an expert accountant in your corner can save you time, money, and stress, making it a smart business investment.

Bra-vo for effort but don’t try this expenses trick folks

Ever wondered what you can and CANNOT get away with claiming on expenses?

As you might expect, I’ve seen THE LOT!

Sometimes, more than one might care to see if I’m quite honest!

There seems to be a “grey area” for some folk, where the personal and the business world collides and I understand that.

The key thing to remember is this…It has to be for the BUSINESS and NO personal benefit.

So imagine the red faces at HMRC when an unnamed “OnlyFans” content creator managed to convince the HMRC that a breast enhancement was a legitimate business expense. This was “revealed” by the Mail on Sunday last week and you can imagine the combination of indignation and dare I say “titillation” they got from that story.

Considering these treatments on the NHS are on average £6000 (according to my outsourced research on the matter), this could all get rather expensive for the taxpayer.

There’s previous for this too, one former BBC presenter managed to wangle a claim for dental treatment as he was switching from radio to TV work.

These examples have meant that people have tried to claim facelifts, breast implants, Botox injections, teeth-whitening and similar. Most accountants and tax advisors know that these will get kicked out of tax return reviews so won’t enter them. If people insist it gets entered, then it needs to be declared in the white space on the return. Then wait with fingers crossed.

It is the same with any medical treatment, it falls under the dual benefit rules and cannot be claimed. It seems that this may all be set to come to halt pretty soon and HMRC even noted that; “It’s very unlikely that a non-health-related operation would be an allowable expense.”

The golden rule is that the expense has to be wholly and exclusively for the self-employed business.

Unlikely, but still tempting? Please be careful and if in doubt, ask a professional…like me!

Remember…Business, not Personal.

Now, if you want to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law on expenses, why not grab your free copy of my guide to expenses.

You can find it HERE. After all, nobody wants to go “bust” over this do they?!

A quick lesson on Very Annoying Tax aka “VAT” and Tuition - Performance Accountancy, a Chartered Accountancy firm in Berkshire - Working with performers

A quick lesson on Very Annoying Tax aka “VAT” and Tuition

As things have changed over the last 18 to 24 months, more and more musicians, singers and actors have turned to teaching online as live performances were non-existent.

Those that have done it really well (yay!) may have found that they are approaching the VAT threshold for the rolling 12 month period (boo!), especially when normal business starts to resume.

Now, this has actually sent many people into a bit of a head spin.

Suddenly they’ve got to register for VAT and charge 20% more than other people in their field!

Just when they were doing so well. It feels like you can’t win!

Now that is “VAT”!

People are even trying to concoct different ways around this VAT registration to keep their costs down and the need for reporting to HMRC quarterly.

Well, concoct no more, there’s absolutely no need to panic.

In fact, here’s some good news…

In general, fees from private tuition are EXEMPT from VAT and do not count towards the income threshold for VAT turnover.

Therefore, VAT does not have to be charged on these fees.

Yay again!

Hold your horses there teacher…

It is only exempt if certain conditions are met:

  1. Lessons are given by a sole trader or self-employed person or a member of a partnership.
  2. Private doesn’t actually mean one to one only. It can be one to many as sometimes tuition can only really work in a class.
  3. The subject must ordinarily be taught in a school or university.

Now you might assume that if it’s ordinary taught in school and university, then there would be an age limit.

Au contraire!

Even if tuition is given to a 50 year old, that person is still learning a subject taught in schools or university and therefore remains exempt from VAT!

Yay again! *begins small hopeful dance before reading on with trepidation*

Wait a minute, here comes the science – the REALLY boring bit.

Now, a self-employed person giving tuition cannot outsource that to another self-employed person and treat it as exempt income if they are VAT registered.

It has to be delivered by the self-employed person that is doing the billing to the clients. So be very careful. There’s no depping out tuition and getting away with it if you have income above the VAT threshold.

A bit of a nightmare keeping accurate records for that too!

So, you MIGHT decide, given you are doing other things as well, that you want to set up a limited company and put all the business through a limited company.


However, that’s where the situation gets a bit trickier so steady on there old bean and read on…

If you deliver tuition through a limited company and then start to break the VAT threshold, your lesson fees count towards the VAT threshold.

So you would need to charge VAT on them and may become, in effect, 20% more expensive.

“So what to do Lou?”

Deep breath. 

You could stick as a sole trader to deliver the tuition and put your other type of income, like performing income, into the limited company. 

That’s absolutely fine.

However, if you do split your business legitimately between teaching and performing, then you may not hit the VAT threshold in total because your limited company has one threshold and you as a person have another threshold.

Cunning eh?

In summary, providing you are self-employed, delivering the teaching yourself and the subject is normally taught at schools or university, there is no concern about having to be VAT registered for tuition. 

August Accounting Content Kicking Off

treble clefWell, I made a promise myself that I would spend August working on my business and building lots of accounting content and useful tools for clients to use, as well as getting round to writing an e-book or maybe even a real book by the end of the year. The trouble is, that was due to be August 2013 when I first planned it in May 2013.

August 2014 has arrived and I am actually doing it. Useful accounting content will slowly come out on my website and social media pages that can be used by all small businesses, and there will be content for my specialisms area of performers. The first of these initiatives was launched in June, and it is a paper dedicated to the expenses that performers can claim against their tax. All those singers, actors, musicians, dancers, entertainers sitting in the green rooms worried about their tax. ouch.

This paper will develop over time as people ask questions about its content, or questions that I had not considered putting an answer to. Debbie Christie – thank you for the couple of topics which will land in the next version. If you have no clue what I am talking about, then pop over to the performers page by clicking >>> HERE <<< , sign up, and check your spam for the confirmation email, and then the link to the pdf document will be sent to you.

August is always a quiet month for accountants as who wants to ruin their summer by thinking of tax returns and documentation. Should you want to talk to an accountant, then give us a bell on 01344 669084 or if you are shy, drop us a message by clicking >>> HERE <<<. We don’t bite – only when I am peckish or bored.

See you next time.