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What expenses can I claim?

- An Actors Guide -


As a self-employed actor, you will incur various running costs which you can deduct from your taxable profits (provided of course that they’re allowable expenses that relate to your activities as a actor).  The questions is - what expenses are allowable and what can you, as a self-employed actor, claim as a deduction from your taxable profits? This guide will help you through this particularly tricky area of self-assessment tax.


The general rule


As a general rule of thumb, you can't claim a deduction for expenses spent on yourself for your own personal needs. For example, you can't claim for a personal phone bill or the cost of fuel for a non-business related journey. An allowable expense must relate 'wholly and exclusively' to your 'business', or in your case, your self-employed acting activities. 


Expenses you can claim for


Keeping the above general rule in mind, let's go through the types of self-employed expenses that you, as an actor, may typically encounter:

Office & Stationary Costs



You can claim expenses for:


  • Research materials, e.g. books

  • phone, mobile, fax and internet bills

  • postage

  • stationery

  • printing

  • printer ink and cartridges

  • computer software


For claiming expenses for equipment, such as computer hardware, see 'Capital Allowances', below.

Working from home


As an actor you will probably carry out some of your work from home. You may be able to claim a proportion of your costs for things like:


  • heating

  • electricity

  • council Tax

  • mortgage interest or rent

  • internet and telephone use


You’ll need to find a reasonable method of dividing your costs, eg by the amount of time you spend working from home. We can help with all of this.

Car & Travel Costs

You can claim allowable travel expenses, for example where you have travelled to and from an audition or a temporary place of work. This can include the business proportion of:


  • vehicle insurance

  • repairs and servicing

  • fuel

  • parking

  • hire charges

  • vehicle licence fees

  • breakdown cover

  • train, bus, air and taxi fares

  • hotel rooms

  • meals on overnight business trips



You can't claim for:


  • non-business driving or fuel costs

  • parking fines 

  • speeding penalties

  • travel to and from a permanent place of employment

Professional, Accountancy & Financial Costs

Professional, accountancy and legal costs can count as allowable expenses. In particular, for actors, this may include:


  • agency/commission charges

  • our accountancy fee

  • insurance premiums, if applicable.



Bank & Other Financial Charges


You can claim business costs for:


  • bank, overdraft and credit card charges

  • interest on bank and business loans

  • hire purchase interest

  • leasing payments

  • alternative finance payments, eg Islamic finance

  • Bad debts - E.g. if you're not paid for a job.

Capital Allowances

You can claim tax relief for the cost of capital business assets purchased for use in your role as a self-employed actor. This will generally include items with an expected lifespan of over 2 years, including:


  • computer equipment

  • vehicles

  • office furniture

Expenses relating to both personal and business

As an actor, you may carry out self-employed actor work in addition to working in permanent employment elsewhere. Because of this, some of your business expenses (actor expenses), may also have a personal use. For example, you may use your personal mobile to make and receive calls to an agent or to a director. The cost of those particular calls will be classed as allowable expenses. It will sometimes be necessary therefore to apportion costs between personal and business and claim for the business element only on your self-assessment tax return.

Other allowable expenses may include:


  • Props and items purchased for a role/audition.

  • Staff costs (if you employ or contract others).

  • Subscriptions / professional memberships

  • Marketing / advertising costs

Any questions?

Call FREE 0800 772 3911

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Tax Guides for Actors 

(subscribers only)

We have prepared the following tax guides specifically for actors and the self-employed. Click on the links to read more:


Need help with anything else?

There's more to us than just tax returns. Visit our website for details on our tax services:

GTS | the tax return company

Call FREE 0800 772 3911

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