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Tax Guide: self-employed hairdresser or barber

  • 3 min read
  • 23 Oct 2023
Tax Guide: self-employed hairdresser or barber

As a self-employed hairdresser or barber, there are a few things to consider when it comes to paying your taxes:

  • How do you pay your taxes?
  • What documents do you need?
  • Where can you pay your taxes?
  • How much do you owe?

Luckily for you, we don’t believe in struggling your way through the government gateway to confusion and dread. Whether you’re self-employed working in a salon or self-employed working privately, you’ll need to declare your income to HMRC.

Here’s how.

How do you pay taxes as a self-employed hairdresser?

As with any other sole trader, you must first declare to HMRC that you are self-employed. This is done through a Self Assessment. It’s basically the way to declare untaxed earnings by explaining where you work, how much you’re paid and how often.

You must register for Self Assessment by 5th October of any given tax year. 

When it comes to actually paying your bill, you’ll need what’s known as a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. HMRC will send this in the post for you once you’ve completed your Self Assessment.

The deadline to pay your tax bill is 31st January, the year following the tax year you’re paying for.

Real talk: what does that mean?

The tax year is from 6th April to 5th April – just to be difficult. 

If you earn money hairdressing between May 2024 and April 2025, you’ll pay a tax bill for the 2024/25 tax year. 

This payment will be due by 31st January 2026. 

What documents will I need?

To pay your tax bill, you’ll need to show evidence of your income and any expenses that you’d like to deduct. We’ll come onto what you can expense a little later in the guide but until then, just know that it’s super-important that you make a record of everything that you earn and spend. 

Whether that’s by invoicing, making spreadsheets or uploading your receipts onto an online platform, it’s all of paramount importance. HMRC can request evidence of your income and expenses up to 22 months after you pay your tax bill. 

  • Invoices for jobs
  • Receipts from customer cuts
  • Travel receipts
  • Premises rent
  • Chair hire
  • Any other relevant income/expenses from your business

Where can I pay my taxes?

Once you’ve got everything ready and prepared, there are a few ways to pay:

  • Via HMRC yourself here
  • With a personal accountant
  • Using an online tax return provider (ahem… like us)

You can pay by Direct Debit (if you’ve set it up with HMRC before), BACS, with your debit/credit card or by cheque. 

How much do I owe?

What you owe depends on what you’ve earned. Generally, there are three types of tax to be aware of:

Income Tax is variable, depending on how much you earn. Take a look at the 2024/25 tax year salary thresholds

Income tax and Class 4 National Insurance are paid when you earn over £12,570 a year from self-employment income.

What can I expense?

As a self-employed hairdresser or barber, you can expense any spend related to your business. Here’s a list of common expenses for hairdressers who work as sole traders, but you can expense anything that relates to your business. Just make sure that you have evidence to prove it!

  • Hair products (shampoo, conditioner, treatment serums)
  • Chair fees
  • Uniform
  • Hairdressing equipment (trolley, straighteners, hairdryer)
  • Space rent
  • Accounting fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Marketing costs (website, domain name, advertising campaigns)
  • Training 
  • Salon costs (utilities, phone)
  • Trade magazine subscriptions
  • Resale products (hair care products)
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