skip to main content

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 focuses 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. 

Tax Savings Guide provided by Chartered Accountants HW Fisher

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

You can contact HW Fisher & Company by emailing or visiting The HW Fisher website.

Member services

Latest news and features

Photograph of a bass musician standing on a busy looking stage with orange and purple light shining over them

Government’s Response to DCMS Select Committee’s Streaming Report is Welcome

The MU, The Ivors Academy and Tom Gray, Founder of the #BrokenRecord Campaign welcome the Government’s response to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Streaming Report, but call for firm action now to put the value of music back in the hands of music makers.

Published: 22 September 2021

Read more about Government’s Response to DCMS Select Committee’s Streaming Report is Welcome
Photograph from the back of a string section in an orchestra, looking forward across scores and players holding violins.

Health and Safety In Orchestras

For those of you returning to work in orchestras, you need to be sure your employer or engager is offering you a safe place to work. This may not be straightforward!

Published: 17 September 2021

Read more about Health and Safety In Orchestras