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From national insurance and VAT deductions, to self-assessment and advice on claiming expenses, the information in this section will help you to navigate the sometimes complex process of paying tax as a musician.

Note this is for general information only and no-one should take action, or refrain from taking action, without obtaining professional advice.

This guidance will concentrate on two types of income relevant to musicians:

1. Income from an employment or office — for example, as an employee of the BBC in one of the orchestras. This type of income is known as ‘earnings from employment’.

2. Income relevant to musicians is income of self-employed people such as a self-employed musician, referred to as ‘trading income’ and includes income from trades, professions and vocations. The potential tax saving opportunities for musicians with earnings from employment are less than for musicians with trading income, who are able to claim a wide range of expenses against their income and will generally pay any tax due twice a year through the Self Assessment system rather than having tax deducted at source by their employer. 

Further details can be obtained from HW Fisher & Company’s Martin Taylor or Andrew Subramaniam.

You can contact HW Fisher & Company by emailing mediahelpline@hwfisher.co.uk or visiting The HW Fisher website.