How to Manage Taxes as a Freelance Make-Up Artist

When you become a freelance make-up artist, it is your responsibility to register with HMRC and handle your own taxes.

If self-employment is new to you or you are searching for ways to reduce your tax bill, then this guide is for you.

Here’s I explain more about:

  • Registering as a self-employed make-up artist;
  • Self-employment taxes;
  • You’re HMRC responsibilities;
  • Reducing your tax bill;
  • Bookkeeping.

What is Self-Employment

Self-employment means that you work for yourself rather than for someone else.

This means you:

  • Are responsible for finding your own work;
  • Decide when you want to accept a job;
  • Need to have your own method of transport, mobile phone and equipment;
  • Will not receive sick pay or holiday pay, so you will go without earnings during these times;
  • Make sure you have the right qualifications to operate;
  • Take out your own insurance;
  • Need to register as self-employed, work out your own taxes and send a tax return to HMRC.

You are not restricted to just being self-employed either.  You can even hold down a full-time job while working as a freelance make-up Artist on the side.

When to Register as a Freelance Make-Up Artist

If you make more than £1,000 as a Freelance Make Up Artist or you intend to build up a steady self employment income then you should register with HMRC.

If you earn less than £1,000 during a tax year you may be able to use the HMRC Trading Allowance tax break. This permits you to earn up to £1,000 without registering with HMRC or paying tax on it.

A tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April each year.

If you earn more than £1,000 you must register by 5th October in the second tax year of being a make-up artist.

So if you became a Freelance Make Up Artist on 1 April 2019 then you would need to register as self-employed by 5th October 2019.

How to Register as a Freelance Make-Up Artist

You can register online with HMRC as a freelance make-up artist. It’s fairly easy to do but I have put together a video to help you.

How to Register as Self Employed Video Tutorial

What Taxes Do Freelance Make-Up Artists Pay

Anyone who is self-employed must pay tax and national insurance. These are:

  • Income tax;
  • Class 2 national insurance;
  • Class 4 national insurance.

The amount of each you pay is based on your earnings. That means all your income less all your expenses.

For this reason, it is really important to make sure you claim all the expenses you can against your taxes to reduce your tax bill.

HMRC Responsibilities Once You’re Self-Employed

Once you are registered as self-employed you are legally required to:

  • Declare your freelance earnings;
  • Fill out a self-assessment tax return;
  • Work out your own taxes;
  • Pay any tax due and payments on account by 31 January and 31 July each year;
  • Keeping records and receipts of all your income and expenses.

Claiming Expenses When You’re Self-Employed

There are rules set out by HMRC which expenses you can claim for (allowable expenses) and those you can’t (disallowable expenses).

Allowable Expenses for Freelance Make-Up Artists

In the main, everything you need to pay for in relation to working as a make-up artist can be claimed against your taxes.

Here are some typical allowable expenses for freelance make-up artists:

  • Make-up;
  • Brushes and equipment;
  • Computer and printer;
  • Website design and build;
  • SEO;
  • PPC;
  • Marketing and advertising;
  • Business cards;
  • Software subscriptions;
  • Mobile phone;
  • Insurance;
  • Branded clothing or uniform;
  • Travel;
  • Business mileage;
  • Training courses to improve your skills;
  • Accountants fees;
  • Bank charges for a business bank account.

There may be expenses you pay for that you use personally, like your mobile phone. In these cases, you can only claim a portion as an allowable expense.

So if you use your mobile phone for 60% work and 40% personal, then you take 60% of the total costs to put against your taxes.

Disallowable Expenses for Freelance Make Up Artists

After years of people pushing the boundaries and claiming for some questionable expenses, HMRC have a growing list of expenses that are disallowable.

Here are some common examples of disallowable expenses for Freelance Make Up Artists:

Bookkeeping and Record Keeping for Self-Employed Make-Up Artists

One of the keys to reducing your tax bill is to stay on top of your bookkeeping and tacking all your expenses.

You’ll also need to make sure you keep all your receipts support all the expenses you want to claim, as well as details of what you have been paid.

The simplest way to do this is to:

  1. Open up a separate bank account for yourself and set this to send/receive any payments. That way when tax time comes you has a record of everything that has happened.  
  2. Save all your receipts and reports using a bookkeeping app.

Quickbooks is a great option for self-employed people since you can photograph and store your expenses on the go, as well as using the app to automatically track your business mileage.

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About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek and money nerd helping financial DIY-ers organise their money so they can hit their goals quicker.