You may not think of yourself as a ‘creative’, but with the UK now considered a global leader in creative businesses, chances are you work in one of those industries that are at least being described as ‘creative’.
These include Advertising; Architecture; Art; Branding; Crafts; Design; Fashion; Film; Music; Performing Arts; Publishing; Photography; Software; Television & Radio; and Video Games.
As a member of this remarkable growth sector, you’re probably all too aware that the Creative Industry is unique, not just in the way that it works, but also in the way individuals within those aforementioned disciplines need to work.
The Creative Conundrum
As a creative contractor, your expenditure might seem a little chaotic at times.
And when it comes to your accounting requirements – and being tax efficient through claiming back the maximum amount of legitimate business costs – many creatives have the same complaint: it seems that they aren’t claiming back as much as they should be.
The reality is that the support creatives get from their accountant doesn’t seem to take into consideration the unique nature of their industry.
Over the years, we’ve spoken to hundreds of creatives and the issue seems to be that anything that doesn’t fit the mould is just immediately rejected. Therefore, many creatives commonly feel that their accountant is taking the safe, easy, quick route: in other words, “Computer says NO!”
This is exacerbated by the fact that HMRC also finds it difficult when it comes to anything that requires more time and thought, predominantly because they are so stretched for resources; it’s often much easier to say no.
Creatives can be left feeling frustrated, to the point where it feels like they’re being penalised for just being a creative!
You didn’t choose the safe, easy path
So, why should your accountant simply offer you safe, easy advice?
Most of us nowadays can use Google, and we can find and read the tried and tested list of costs creatives can claim straight from the HMRC website.
In fact, you probably already know you can claim 100% of your mobile bill if it’s in your business name, or overnight costs if you stay away from home for work.
Instead, ask yourself: Is this the best, most comprehensive, most effective advice and information I can get?
Here’s what we do differently
Over the years, we at Ten Forward Finance have developed a good understanding of the creative industry based on the way creatives work.
We talk extensively to our clients about their business and what they do. We understand that their work doesn’t always fit the standard mould. Most importantly, we ask the right questions.
We don’t work for HMRC, we work for our clients, and our job is to not only keep you compliant but also to understand you and your business. In doing so, we can present your tax affairs to HMRC in the most tax efficient manner.
For instance, we had a client who had to purchase several expensive items of clothing. The project she was working on required this expenditure, but we knew that on the surface it’s the kind of cost that doesn’t fit the HMRC list of approved items.
However, our previous experience and knowledge of case law helped us to ensure that our client could claim the maximum amount of this expenditure safe in the knowledge it was compliant with HMRC’s requirements.
Now, we don’t claim to work miracles – we simply put in the extra effort.
We also have a good long-standing relationship with HMRC and the senior inspectors that tend to oversee the tax affairs of these industries. We are always respectful of the process and the systems, but ultimately we are there to act in the best interests of our clients.
If you’re a creative, thinking of starting out in business, or an industry veteran who’s unsure if you’re maximising your tax efficiency, contact us today to speak with one of our friendly advisors.