Self-employed as a DJ - allowable expenses?

in Cutting tax
8 replies 14.2K views
I am starting to work self-employed (in addition to my normal job) as a DJ.

I'm only doing one regular gig for a client per week, so I won't be earning very much income (I'm basically doing it for the fun of it, more than anything).

While I obviously know about how my income will be taxed, what I'm less clear about is what I can claim in expenses?

- I assume I can claim travel to the venue from home as a mileage expense - HMRC sets this out at 40p/mile, and I travel 30 miles in an evening so that would presumably be £12 expense per gig?

- If I want to claim for equipment I purchase, this is presumably a Capital Allowance (as it is a fixed asset) - at the moment I'm mostly using equipment at the venue but I'm gradually purchasing more of my own for potential use elsewhere.

- Can I claim for music purchased exclusively for DJing with as an expense? I've purchased a lot of CDs and downloads that I store on my laptop to DJ with, and it'd be good if I can claim these back against my income

Any help appreciated!


  • If you buy something for your business that you would not otherwise have bought, then it is a legitimate expense. Music CDs could be a little tricky because many people buy them for personal use, as opposed to, for example, dentist's equipment or trade publications. If you can prove that you have used the music professionally and are ready to state if required that you would not have bought the music anyway then it should be ok.

    Equipment is certainly capital items, but repairs are an expense. Do you wear anything that is obviously for work only?
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  • John_PierpointJohn_Pierpoint Forumite
    8.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    Don't DJ's use MP3 on a laptop these days?
  • [QUOTE=DJ_Mike;30279025I've_purchased_a_lot_of_CDs_and_downloads_that_I_store_on_my_laptop_to_DJ_with,_and_it'd_be_good_if_I_can_claim_these_back_against_my_income[/QUOTE]

    You can! :D But be very careful, you will need accurate receipts for everything!!!! For example if you have iTunes receipts print them out, use a pencil to cross out anything that isn't music, HMRC have become very picky about this, because people weren't checking their reciepts and they were "accidentally" claiming for Iphone apps :p
    [email protected]=£4050 1st DFD 27/08/09 :D Debt @LBM2 =£14,469.97 2nd DFD 14/03/2018 :T
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  • No problem with that - I always keep my receipts (I've been doing that for years anyway) and I only buy music for DJing in a single order - so my receipts are 100% business.

    Just wanted to check that I can genuinely count those are how I should claim for them - the whole tax system is very confusing when it gets to the expenses part!
  • You cannot claim for anything. However, at the end of your year, you will produce an income and expenditure statement which gets transferred to your self assessment. All the expenses which you include in that statement reduces the amount of tax you pay on your DJ'ing. Capital allowances are also included in the self assessment form.
    £705,000 raised by client groups in the past 18 mths :beer:
  • edited 26 February 2010 at 12:21PM
    John_PierpointJohn_Pierpoint Forumite
    8.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    edited 26 February 2010 at 12:21PM
    HMRC use ratios to try to check for those taking the p1ss and then make further investigations if your business "shows out".

    The famous one is assuming that the bottles of lager translate into a given number of meals in a curry house.
    So go in and offer to drink "lassi" with the customers from the Indian subcontinent and ask for a discount?
  • KPR11KPR11 Forumite
    610 Posts
    Don't forget to register with HMRC within 3 months of starting self employment. (

    I would suggest you open a separate bank account particularly if you are thinking of doing more work going forward. This will not only mean you come across professional but will also be able to keep business separate so be able to show your exact income / expense etc

    You seem to have covered most of the things that you can claim as expenses. You might be able to claim some of your broadband costs as expenses particularly if you use it to download music.

    This might help you with your self-employment:

    Good luck
    £365 in 365 days challenge: £730 / £150
  • and mobile phonecalls - sure you'll have some of those.... and then there may at some point be other office type expenses, like paying someone to design your website, advertising costs, accountant fees, bank charges.... basically anything that you pay out that you wouldn't pay out if you weren't doing the job.

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