Tax Advice for Self Employed Hairdressers

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tax advice and allowable expenses for self employed hairdressers

Self Employed Hairdresser? Here is our tax advice guide just for you. Whether you are starting out or just want to understand more about allowable expenses, here are some useful tips specifically for self employed hairdresser.

THE FOUR ESSENTIALS OF SELF EMPLOYMENT

Let’s start by summarising the four essential elements of Self Employment:

  1. Visit the HMRC website and register as Self Employed;
  2. Keep a list and receipts of all business income and expenses;
  3. Complete Self Assessment before 31 January each year summarising your business income and expenses;
  4. Pay any Tax and National Insurance due by 31 January each year (and payments on account by 31 January and 31 July each year).

REGISTER WITH HMRC AS A SELF EMPLOYED HAIRDRESSER

First things first, you must register with HMRC for Self Assessment and Class 2 & 4 National Insurance. This should be done as soon as possible after starting work as  Self Employed Hairdresser but HMRC rules are that you must register by 5 October in your business’s second tax year.

What is Class 2 National Insurance?

What is Class 4 national insurance?

You can register online as a Self Employed Hairdresser on the HMRC website.  The process can take 10 days to complete upon which HMRC will post you a UTR number (Unique Tax Payers Reference).  Keep this safe as you will need this code to file your Self Assessment Tax Return.

Self Employed Individuals are responsible for reporting their income to HMRC under Self Assessment by submitting a personal Tax Return by 31 January each year detailing your income as a Self Employed Hairdresser, the income tax and Class 2 & Class 4 National Insurance due as well as making a payment for the tax and NI due. Your tax return submitted by 31 January covers the previous tax year (a tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April). So for example, your tax return due by 31 January 2018 details your earnings between 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017 and this will include your income as a Hairdresser as well as any other earnings you may have (such as rental income, bank interest or dividends).

Watch out, you are also required to make a payment on account to HMRC by 31 July each year too which is normally 50% of your previous years tax bill, so make sure you budget for this additional payment too.

It is also worth noting that if you already complete a Self Assessment Tax Return, for example because you collect rental income or have savings interest, that you need to complete a Form CWF1 to notify HMRC that you have a new form of income you need to report on.  Again, you can do this online here and you will need your Unique Tax Payers Reference.

Your trading income, somewhat deceivingly, actually means your trading profits (all your income less all your allowable business expenses). Generally speaking, business expenses are only tax allowable if they are ‘wholly, necessarily and exclusively’ incurred in the performance of your business. All expenses must be supported by a receipt, so make sure you keep hold of all your paper or emailed receipts. But it is really important to be aware of which expenses are allowable because they will reduce your tax bill and incorrect claims can result in penalties.

Allowable Start Up Expenses for Self Employed Hairdressers

Starting any business usually involves some element of cost so it is worth understanding whether these expenses will attract tax relief before you start spending. Here is a list of typically allowable start up expenses relevant if you are a self employed hairdresser:

Equipment

Scissors, towels, dyes and hairdryers, amongst other equipment you need to provide a cut and colour are fully allowable and can be deducted from your income when working out your taxable profits. So keep all the receipts of your equipment so you can discuss deductions with your accountant.

Computer

You may need a computer & printer to manage your bookings, make product orders, manage social media or print out leaflets/brochures. Your computer and printer may be tax allowable either in full or a proportion of its value to reflect business usage, so make a note and keep the receipt to discuss at tax time.

Website

Having a website is so important and it gives you the chance to detail your services, prices, showcase your previous work and let people get a feel for your experience and personality. If you are considering investing in a website then it is worth noting that the website, domain and hosting again are all allowable expenses.

Allowable Ongoing Expenses for Self Employed Hairdressers

Once you have begun finding clients you will being to incur expenses on an ongoing basis as you run your business. Here are some of the ongoing expenses you which you should look out for as a self employed hairdresser and keep details of as they are generally tax allowable and reduce your tax bill:

Hairdressing Products

All you hair care products, shampoos, conditioners and colour kits are tax allowable so keep your receipts. If your hairdryer breaks or you choose upgrade a set of hair straighteners, again these will be allowable so keep everything for you to discuss with your accountant when it is time to complete your tax return.

Phone and Internet

The cost of a business phone (mobile and/or landline) and your internet is an allowable expense however if there is personal use then only a proportion of the contract costs can be claimed.

Branded clothing

If you have a ‘uniform’ with your branding that you wear while you cut your clients hair, then you should be able to claim for this cost. Normal clothing is not allowed and neither is the cost of washing your clothes at home. You can also claim for the cost of any protective wear in full, such as latex gloves.

Travel

If you are a mobile hairdresser offering home visits you will incur the cost of travelling to your clients. Keep hold of your receipts for trains, tubes or taxis as they should all be allowable expenses and help reduce your tax bill.

Mileage

If you are a mobile hairdresser or have a wedding client booked you may need to use your car to travel to clients and you should note down the mileage as this falls under the category of travel. Record you miles to and from your destination since you can claim 45p for the first 10,000 miles of driving and 25p thereafter.

Note – If you choose to rent a chair at a salon you may not be able to claim for the cost of travel/mileage as this may represent your place of work. Make sure you take professional advice before claiming for travel/mileage as incorrect claims can result in penalties.

Insurance

Equipment doesn’t come cheap and you will probably need to have some form of public liability insurance, so if you have taken out a policy to cover loss or damage you will be able to claim this cost as an allowable expense.

Marketing/SEO/PPC

Any marketing you do, paid ads or anyone you pay to help you with your marketing is also fully allowable so make sure you download or ask your marketing assistant to send you an invoice before you pay them.

Chair Rent

If you opt to rent a chair as part of a larger salon, then again the cost of doing so is an allowable expense and will reduce your taxable income.

Use of Home

If you choose to set up at home then there are rules that will allow you to claim an amount for the running costs of doing so from your home as a proportion of your household bills such as gas, water, electricity or rent. Make sure you have an idea of your household running costs to discuss with your accountant at tax return time as they will help you work out how much you can claim against your taxable income.

Training

You may opt to take courses to improve your skills or learn about new treatments available. These will probably be tax allowable so keep your receipts ready for when you need to submit your tax return. If you need to travel to your course or stay overnight as part of the training these costs are also tax deductible, as well as the cost of a basic meal for lunch/dinner. Take the time to collate your receipts or note down mileage so you can discuss your claim against your taxable income with your accountant.

Accounting & Bookkeeping

Keeping accurate business records will help to avoid missing any entitlements or tax relief that you may be eligible for. Using a cloud based accounting software such as Xero, Quickbooks or Sage will make life easier, so if you do choose to sign up the cost of the monthly subscription is fully tax allowable. Then, if you choose to use an accountant to complete your self assessment tax return, again their fees will be an allowable expense but keeping your business records in order will avoid any increases in fees.

Bank Charges

It is advisable to open a business bank account and keep your business and personal expenditure separate. The bank charges you pay on your business bank account is an allowable expense.

RECORDING YOUR BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS

It is likely you may be paid via bank transfer or cash and, like any self employed sole trader, it’s important to keep accurate business activity records and be aware of any entitlements or tax relief that you may be eligible for. Doing so will make life easier when the time comes to completing Self Assessment. Incomplete or inaccurate records will demand more time and hike up any accounting costs. Don’t forget that failure to declare all forms of income could result in prosecution and a fine from HMRC. Accurate returns are important as they affect a person’s eligibility and ability to get things like mortgages and other types of credit finance.

A simple spreadsheet which records your income and expenses is a great start to keeping your business transactions logged and organised.  You read some of our tips to keeping your accounts organised here.

You must keep your records and receipts for at least 5 years after the 31 January submission deadline of the relevant tax year. For Example: If you sent your 2016 to 2017 tax return online by 31 January 2018, you must keep your records until at least the end of January 2023.

Related:

What is a Personal Allowance?

How Much Tax Do You Pay As a Sole Trader?

Should I Register my Business for VAT?