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A fitness instructor can work either as an employee or as an independent contractor i.e. someone that is self-employed. In fact, 62% of personal personal trainers and fitness instructors are self-employed.
If you work as a fitness instructor, the main difference between being employed and self-employed is the control that you have over your working life.
As an employee, your employer (i.e. the gym) takes care of your working timetable, your pay, your taxes and your holiday allowance.
As a self-employed fitness instructor, you’re in charge of when you work, you can set your rate of pay, you can take holiday when you want and you’re in charge of paying your own taxes. That said, when it comes to holiday or sick days, you won’t be paid for these like you are when you’re under an employment contract.
So being self-employed takes much more rigid money management.
When you’re self-employed, there are two types of taxes that you’re liable to pay from your earnings:
Income tax is based on how much you earn. And it’s a sliding scale as your income increases. Take a look at the 2023/24 tax year rates of Income Tax:
|Up to £12,570||0%||Personal allowance|
|£12,571 to £50,270||20%||Basic rate|
|£50,271 to £125,140||40%||Higher rate|
|over £125,141||45%||Additional rate|
When it comes to National Insurance, you’ll pay Class 2 (a flat £3.45 per week) and Class 4 National Insurance (9% of your earnings) when you earn more than £12,570 (or 2% over £50,271).
This is the part that most contractors find most complicated, but it doesn’t need to be.
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