I know, I know. You had your head buried in paperwork December & January trying to work out what costs you can put against your taxable income as a voiceover artist legitimately ! If only somebody could tell you what you could offset; and if only you put everything away in a nice folder that you could find; and if only you started doing this sooner.
Well, in order to help with the first one of these, here is a little taster as to what you may be able to claim as a cost to your business as a Voiceover artist. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
Computer software, Microsoft Office, security
Always on the assumption that the computer is used for business, then any business based software can be treated as a tax deduction. This would include products such as Microsoft Office, internet security, Sibelius, notation software, publishing tools, accounting software etc. However, if the computer is for personal & business use, the costs of the software used would have to be apportioned between business and personal unless the software is entirely business specific. Details should be kept on usage and the proportion allocated each year. If personal use is incidental, it is likely that the whole cost can be taken as an allowable expense.
Ink, stationery, mailing costs
These generally are all allowable as a deduction for tax purposes if for business use. No, the birthday card & postage to Auntie Flo would not count, however thank you cards to your agent and such like would be allowable. Royal mail online do a prepaid postage account. The cost to put money in that account would not be a tax deduction, but each time you dipped into it to mail anything related to business would be acceptable, so print the confirmation email of the evidence of spend.
Membership subscriptions to a trade/industry related organisation
This could be Equity, Variety Club, spotlight, and even your membership to The VoiceOver Network. It needs to be akin to your business so by becoming a member, you not only get to network with your fellow Voiceovers, but you get to meet people that can help you in your industry such as Agents, Scouts, product suppliers and support people that have specialist skills and advice. Unlike some organisations, a rolling monthly payment means you won’t forget to claim for the cost, and all the bills are in the same place – no scratching around trying to find receipts.
Training, workshops and classes
It’s vital that any Voiceover artist continues with training and upkeep of their skills. The cost of attending regular workshops, classes or vocal coaching, should be deductible. It is all about update and enhancing skills to keep you employable and noticed. However, it is not about acquiring new skills that are unrelated to your current business for example training to be a plumber. Workshops that are being run by The VoiceOver Network are included here. One of the perks of the membership is being able to book onto a course with fellow members that you get to know and as The VoiceOver Network will have the buying power of serval people on one course, it is likely to be cheaper than being an individual on a booking.
Agent & Booking fees
Should you use an agent to get bookings, then they will charge a commission/fee and most likely VAT. These costs are allowable as a tax deduction. There is no standard rate that an agent charges as it is normally up to the individual and the agent to agree in advance. VAT can be reclaimed depending on your VAT status or treated as a cost in full if you are not VAT registered. (This is covered in a separate document.)
I hope that has given you a little taster on some expenses that can be put against your business for tax but always seek professional advice from an accountant before taking action as circumstances & applicability for one may be different for another.
Louise Herrington BA(Hons), FCA