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9 tax deductions for DJs

1st February 2021

dj tax deductions

Do you know exactly what you’re entitled to? Explore nine tax deductions for DJs. 

Becoming a freelance DJ has a ton of benefits. From the ability to set your own schedule and work with more clients, as well as the most obvious, the opportunity to increase your salary, going freelance can be a great move for your DJ career. The downside to freelancing? You’re responsible for your own taxes. 

To get you started we’ve pulled together nine tax deductions for DJs that you *might* not know that you can expense as part of your tax return. So, what can you actually expense as a freelance DJ? 

1. Performance clothing 

Did you know that Chris Sievey could have expensed Frank Sidebottom’s head? Costumes, uniform or protective clothing can be expensed. Your recent jazzy shirt haul from Depop? Sadly not. If you’re just purchasing an everyday item then this can’t be claimed as an expense. 

2. Fuel & travel tax deductions for DJs

As a DJ, fuel and transport costs are a big one. From meeting new clients to travelling to attending performances, as well as overnight hotel costs. Bear in mind that travel for things like meetings and site visits is included, but you can’t claim for the cost of travelling between home and work – so commuting or travelling to your business premises doesn’t count. 

It’s also worth remembering that if you take a journey for both personal and business reasons, you must be able to separate out the business cost in order to include them in your expenses. 

3. Decks & lighting equipment 

There’s no way about it, DJ equipment, even if it’s second-hand, is expensive. So, you’ll be relieved to hear that you can expense this on your end-of-year tax return. Even if it’s second-hand. If you are buying second-hand DJ equipment, you can expense this, however, you’ll need some proof of purchase details, such as evidence through your bank statement.

4. Advertising & promotion

From homemade flyers to email marketing, how you promote your gig is up to you. But, all of your promotional costs can be expensed. Even if you use a graphic designer, you can claim back the cost of their services. Make sure you ask for invoices from any external consultants, such as illustrators, so that you can claim back their services. 

5. Attending shows, conferences or seminars

When you’re self-employed, you often need to invest to get ahead. Maybe it’s attending Musikmesse, Europe’s largest DJ gear show to do some research about new tech that could help in your career, or perhaps you need to network? By heading to a conference such as Dancefair in Utrecht to connect with producers and fellow DJs you can grow your business. Just remember, your attendance fees can be expensed as they’re for career development.

6. Phone and internet bills

While you’d be paying for a phone bill or internet access regardless of your career, if you’re dependent on them for your DJ business, you can deduct the costs from your tax return. So next time you’re calling up an agent or a venue that just cancelled the gig last minute, at least you get to expense your usage. 

7. Software 

Whether you’re a Serato fan or more into VirtualDJ, DJ software can get expensive fast. Luckily, if you’ve been using it for your business for fewer than two years, you can expense the cost of the purchase!

You’re more likely to be paying subscription fees though, as is most common with this type of software, so if you make regular payments to renew the licence, even if you use it for more than two years, you can still expense it on your tax return.

8. Your office (or spare bedroom)

While most of your business will be conducted on the decks, you need somewhere to do the boring admin stuff. Whether it’s chasing up leads with producers or venues, or keeping track of invoices, if you run your DJ business from home, you can include part of your home utility bills in your expenses. 

To do this, you need to work out the proportion of your home that’s used for business, and what proportion of the month it’s being used for business purposes. If you’re only working from home one day per week, you need to take that into account. Have a look on Gov.uk for a method of calculating the cost. 

9. Subscriptions

If you’re a member of a trade body or association such as SEDA, the DJ Association, or the National Associate of Disc Jockeys, you can include the cost of your membership in your tax return. As long as they’re relevant to your business, they can be expensed. 

If you’re worried about missing a possible tax deduction for your DJ business, we’ve got you covered. Have a chat with one of the team for some advice.

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