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Managing tax as a self-employed makeup artist

We've updated this guide on 5th March 2021

First things first, do you have to pay tax as a makeup artist?

The simple answer is yes. But how much you pay depends on what you earn. If you’re new to being self-employed, it can seem a bit daunting. But never fear, TaxScouts is here, guiding through everything that you need to know step-by-step.

How to go self-employed as a makeup artist?

Going freelance is a big decision and one to consider thoroughly before taking the plunge. 

  • You must have enough clients to sustain enough income to live comfortably
  • Could you become a resident artist at a salon? 
  • Do you have a niche?
  • How will you spark word of mouth?
    • A stall at a market
    • Wedding shows
    • Build a website
    • Ramp up your social media profile
    • Go to beauty networking events
  • You must register as self-employed by 5th October the tax year after you start trading

What is the tax year?

The tax year is the period of time during which you need to calculate your earnings to declare to HMRC. 

To be confusing, it goes from 6th April to 5th April. The 2021/22 tax year is therefore from 6th April 2021 – 5th April 2022.

When it comes to paying your tax bill, this will have to be done online by 31st January 2023. 

To read more about the tax year, check out our blog.

What tax do I owe as a makeup artist?

Whatever the profession of your self-employment occupation, the tax is broken up in the same way. There are two types of tax to be aware of:

  1. Income tax – this is paid on your income whether you’re employed or self-employed at either 20%, 40% or 45%
  2. National Insurance – this is a contribution that qualifies us all for certain benefits such as JSA, the Marriage Allowance and the state pension

You pay Income Tax depending on your yearly earnings. Take a look at the table below to understand the different tax bands to help you work out your bill.

IncomeTax rate
Up to £12,5700%Personal allowance
£12,571 to £50,27020%Basic rate
£50,271 to £150,00040%Higher rate
over £150,00045%Additional rate

What about National Insurance?

As we said, National Insurance accounts for your state contributions to the UK government. Through it, you qualify for different state-provided benefits that you can claim should you need to at any point in your life or professional career.

If you lose your clients, for instance, or they pause work with you because of circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic, your National Insurance contributions enable you to claim Job Seekers’ Allowance.

But there’s more than one type of National Insurance to be aware of. There are six. 

As a self-employed worker, you only need to worry about Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance, but in case you’re interested, here’s an explanation of them all!

  • Class 1 National Insurance – paid through your employer for employees earning more than £8,632 per year
  • Class 1A/1B National Insurance – paid on top of Class 1 by your employer if you earn more than £8,632 
  • Class 2 National Insurance – a flat rate of £3.05 per week paid on self-employed income over £6,515
  • Class 3 National Insurance – a voluntary contribution paid by Direct Debit to fill gaps in your National Insurance contributions
  • Class 4 National Insurance – 9% of your earnings paid if you’re self-employed and earning more than £9,568  

How do I pay my tax bill?

To pay your tax bill as a freelance makeup artist, you should follow four steps:

  1. Register as self-employed with HMRC
  2. Gather the relevant documents to prove your income – read more about the documents that you’ll need here
  3. Deduct your business expenses
  4. Complete a tax return by 31st January 

You can do this in a few ways. You can either do it yourself via HMRC or, if you can’t stand the hassle, you can enlist an accountant to help. 

Or you could give TaxScouts a try… 

How do expenses work?

When you’re self-employed, you can claim back expenses on your earnings. This means that if you earn £31,000 from your work but spend £2000 on buying makeup throughout the year, you will only pay tax on £29,000. 

HMRC will accept any reasonable business expense as a deduction so just ensure that you have evidence of it all. You will need it when it comes to doing your tax return. 

Here is a list of examples of allowable expenses that you might incur as a self-employed makeup artist:

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