Can actors claim clothing as an expense?

Can actors claim clothing as an expense? bchellingworth January 15, 2019

Is clothing a deductible expense for actors?

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” – Benjamin Franklin. That classic idiom has oft been repeated, but I’m starting to think that it’s incorrect. Because every time tax season comes around, I get more and more unsure about what to file, what to expense, how to submit… the list goes on and on.

One of the big questions I had recently was on my clothing. I am an actor who (touch wood) works fairly regularly, in a few different areas. The big goal is to be cast in something ongoing, like a TV series, but more often I am performing with much smaller organisations. Shows where, for example, I might have to provide my own costumes. So, can I claim this as an expense?

The rules on claiming clothes for actors

The rule of thumb with HMRC and the IRS is that a piece of clothing that is specifically for performance (like a stage show, feature film, or TV show) is deductible, as long as it isn’t used for other stuff, like going to the pub. Importantly, this doesn’t cover clothing that you might use for a rehearsal.

Dance shoes & outfits

Dancers have a slightly clearer time when claiming expenses. Dance equipment is much more specialised. Again, clothes that you may wear to rehearsals aren’t covered – this includes leggings and sweatpants. But any ballet shoes/equipment that is required for you to do your job is expendable.

Keep records & get help

If you play by the rules and don’t try and game the system, you are unlikely to be questioned or punished by the tax man. But don’t leave it to chance. Make sure that you are keeping detailed records about what you intend to claim. Keep your receipts, with a little note on each one to say what you plan to expense.

You aren’t a tax professional. This is not an area that you are naturally talented at – you are much more at home on stage and screen. It’s worth considering if you could use a tax professional. I write for The Showbiz Accountant because they helped me immensely with my taxes. They will ensure that you are claiming the right things, and they are always at the end of the phone if you need answers on what to expense. More importantly, they know the business. They are accountants for actors.

Getting help with my taxes actually saved me money. Before Keith, my trusty dedicated accountant at The Showbiz Accountant, my taxes were a mess. My bookkeeping was laughable. By investing in somebody to take care of taxes, it actually saved me time and money. See for yourself – book a 15-minute review today.