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Always keep a record of your Incoming and Outgoing Expenditure and get receipts for EVERYTHING!!!!  The majority of performers are Self-Employed which means you are responsible for paying TAX and National Insurance.  Information on the latest legal requirements are available from the Inland Revenue (UK) and you can find downloadable tax return software at Tax UK.  There are many expenses that an entertainer/musician can legitimately deduct from their earnings, some of which are listed below.

Music/Scripts/Recordings
Coaching/Lessons
Dues (Musicians Union/Equity/AGMA/SAG/AFTRA etc.)
Subscriptions/Publications/Books
Accompanist/Session Musicians
Rehearsal Room Rental
Costumes/Clothes/Shoes & Cleaning
Make up/Wigs/Hair Dye/Hair spray
Audition/Competition Fees
Recording Studio/Sound Engineer/Producer
Master Tape/Tape/CD Duplication/Labels/Artwork
Audio/Visual Equipment
Repairs/Replacement
Leads/Plugs/Plug Boards/Power Breakers
Supplies
Equipment and other Insurance
Photos, Reprints, Advertising & Publicity
Professional Cards and Announcements
Stationary/Postage/CV/Printer Ink/Photocopying
Listing in professional directories (The White Book, Melody Maker, The Stage Newspaper)
Public Phone
Home Phone - Identified Long Distance & Business Calls
Answering Service/Machine
Local Transportation
Meals & Entertainment (in town)
Conferences & Entertainment (at home)
Gifts to Profession (show gifts, etc.)
Theater/Movie/Video Rental Tickets
Backstage Tips
Book-keeping/Accounting Fees
Entertainment Agency Commission
Artist Managers Commission
Laundry & Cleaning
Luggage & Tips
Car Rental & Petrol
Parking
Tolls
Local Transportation while on the road (taxi, bus fare, etc.)
Plane/Train Fare
Hotel/Motel/B&B or other Lodging
Utilities

TRAVEL, LODGING & MEALS AWAY FROM HOME

(Expenses for gigs/competitions and auditions)
List the dates, the city you were in, number of days you were there and get receipts for all meals/drinks purchased.

The amount you can deduct depends on the business usage, i.e., unless the Telephone is a separate business line you may only deduct a percentage of the line rental, whilst calls concerning the business are considered a legitimate expense, personal calls to mates & family are not!!  This is the same for Utilities, Vehicles, Travel etc.,  Anything that is purchased and used in conjunction with the business is a deductable expense.

You should also consider taking out a private Pension, Equipment Insurance and Public Liability Insurance (the latter is required for outdoor performances & larger gigs, check with the organiser, promoter or venue as they may already provide cover).

There are several sources of free help and advice available for individuals and groups who wish to set up in business. Click Here for job listings and information on careers in music or browse the Business & Finance Resources. (UK & USA listings).

If you are still dubious about tackling your own accounts (& are earning enough to pay the fees!) contact:

Association of Music Industry Accountants
Unity House
205 Euston Road
London NW1 2AY
Tel:- 020 7383 9200
for a list of registered members or browse our listings of Music Accountants.