One for the self-employed musicians

As a musician, you’re likely working for yourself. If you are self-employed, you may have to file a personal tax return. With Taxd, you’ll get help to ensure you compose your tax return thoroughly and submit this to HMRC with full compliance.

Arjun Kumar
Arjun Kumar
Apr 4, 2023
Live Drummer

In this article we'll cover exactly what you need to do, what information is required, what expenses to keep track of and we'll ensure you maximise your tax efficiency.

Drum roll please... ????


What you need to do

If you have just started to trade as a musician, you will need to register with HMRC to obtain a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). It takes a couple of weeks to get your UTR through the post, so do this well before the 31 January deadline.

Take a look at another article from us, to learn how to request your UTR.


What information is required

If you have your UTR, the key thing to remember is to track all your earnings and expenses. Many people use a spreadsheet, which can do the job nicely.

At the moment, we're developing a solution for you to track this, which will then automatically flow onto your tax return on Taxd.


What can I expense

Expenses include:

  • Instruments, accessories, electronic equipment that you purchased or hired;
  • Music agents, music production, and roadie fees and wages;
  • Recording and rehearsal studio fees;
  • Costumes, makeup, and decoration used on your performance;
  • Insurance on your instruments and equipment;
  • Travel (including mileage) and subsistence costs (including meals and overnight stays at hotels);
  • Marketing such as your website’s hosting or subscription fees, adverts on social media, artwork for your album, and promotional posters;
  • Merchandise that you will sell such as t-shirts, hats, and CDs; and
  • Much more (if not sure, make sure to ping us a message).


I’m doing gigs or shows abroad, how does this affect me?

Performing abroad is an exciting prospect, seeing new places and experiencing other cultures while working is likely what you’ll remember the most in your later years.

However, from a tax perspective it adds a layer of complexity. The truth is, it depends on the country you are going to and whether there is an agreement with the UK.

Generally for entertainers, tax will already be deducted from your payment. And if an agreement is in place between the UK and the country you are working in, you will not be double taxed on the income.

Make sure to get in touch for more specific information!


Q&A with Jon Onabowu

What is your job status?

I'm employed at the moment — just got a new role actually.

Ironically, I’m doing music more now than before even though I’m working full-time at my main job. Have a few concert residencies so I’m playing very frequently.

So, you could say that I have 2 jobs. Almost, since music doesn’t feel like work.


How do you track your earnings and expenses?

The smart thing to do, would be to have a bank account just for music money.

I also save all of my receipts.

I barely track the food I spend when at gigs. But I later check my bank statement on the days I have gigs and check what I have spent. In the near future, I’m going to use one bank account for my music earnings and expenses.


How did you find the Taxd process?

I knew that accountants were expensive so I wanted to do everything myself. But with Taxd, I learned a lot on how to make my music income more tax efficient.

There were certain deductions I wasn’t making and wasn’t aware. And I learned that I could claim additional relief that I was not previously claiming.

The tech and automation aspect of Taxd definitely made things easier on my end. January and April are always stressful periods for tax but now I sleep easy!


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