If you are self-employed or are looking for advice on starting up a business, the following websites provide useful information and links to organisations that offer advice and support.
If you do any self-employed work, you must register as a business with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You are responsible for paying the tax and National Insurance due on your self-employed earnings. You do this by completing a Self Assesssment tax return on which you report your self-employment income after the end of each tax year. HMRC will calculate what you owe based on what you report. You will need to keep records of your business income and outgoings so you can fill in your tax return correctly.
This is in contrast to employed work, whereby your employer will deduct tax and National Insurance due on your employed earnings and send it direct to the government through a process called Pay as You Earn (PAYE). Many musicians and dancers will have a portfolio of both employed and self-employed work.
If you are unsure whether your work makes you self-employed, there is information to help you decide your employment status on GOV.UK.
Find out how to register as self-employed with HMRC.
ISM Teachers’ Pack: A guide for instrumental and vocal music teachers
This guide is part of 'Make Music Work advice series' produced by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM). It has been designed as a helpful guide for all instrumental and vocal teachers, whether they are employed, working freelance in schools or teaching privately. It includes really useful information about employment status and about paying tax and National Insurance.
Musicians' Union - Tax
Information about the tax issues you will face as a professional musician, including information about self assessment, tax returns, VAT and claiming expenses.
Prospects graduate careers website
A guide to self-employment.
Information about starting up a business in the UK and about setting up as a sole trader (i.e. for those who run their own business as an individual and are self-employed).
Creative Industry Finance
Creative Industry Finance is an Arts Council England initiative, delivered by Creative United, offering business development support and access to finance for creative industry enterprises. The programme is open to a wide range of creative and cultural enterprises, from micro-businesses through to major institutions. They welcome applications from charities and social enterprises, as well as commercial businesses. They are happy to consider applications from sole traders and individual artists, as well as from limited companies, partnerships and not-for-profits. Any model is acceptable as long as you are able to demonstrate that the production of new, creative content is at the heart of what you do. The programme is not aimed at very early stage or startup businesses, so you will need to demonstrate that you have been trading for at least eighteen months. You do not need to be a registered business in order to apply.
South East Enterprise (SEE)
Offer a range of client focused services to start-ups, established businesses and individuals wishing to update their business skills. One area of support offered by SEE, in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, is the e-business support programme, which offers free, hands-on support for Royal Greenwich businesses from experienced advisers at SEE who can show you how to get the most from e-business. The website includes useful downloads as part of their advice for start-ups.
London Small Business Centre (formerly known as East London Small Business Centre)
An enterprise agency providing funding, training and face-to-face mentoring to aspiring and thriving entrepreneurs.
The Shell LiveWIRE programme offers free online business advice and funding to young entrepreneurs in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
The Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme
Supports young people aged 18-30 living in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland who are unemployed (or working fewer than 16 hours a week) to work out if their business ideas are viable and whether self-employment is right for them.