A Photographers Guide To Completing Your Tax Return

A quick poll in our facebook group for photographers shows that we have a whole bunch of members who have left their Tax Return right until the last month of the year to be submitted.

If this is you, don’t fret, let us help you through your Tax Return.

Your Tax Return Online

Firstly, if you haven’t registered for filing your tax return online yet you’ll need to get that done asap.   If you have already registered, then make sure you can log in and access your account this week.  A new Government Gateway ID can take 5 days to arrive so it’s best to check you can log in now.  Missing the January 31st deadline will result in a £100 fine, so it’s worth checking.

Keeping Track

Hopefully you’ve been keeping track of your income and expenditure through the year.  It’s important you document all of your income and all of the  expenses you are entitled to offset against it.  Your income minus your expenditure leaves your profit and this is the figure your ‘tax due’ will be calculated from.  It’s much easier to complete your tax return if you use electronic book keeping software or a CRM system that also tracks income and expenses.

We use Xero but can also recommend 17 Hats for CRM and invoicing (you’ll get a discount if you are a member) and Fresh Books.

[adrotate banner=”5″]

Your Expenses

Make sure you include everything you can in your list of expenses.  As well as equipment and props don’t forget about:

  • Insurance
  • Printing
  • Travel (as well as location or clients homes have you ever collected products or do you deliver goods)
  • Postage/packing
  • Training
  • Subscriptions such as Photoshop, Canva or Animoto
  • Cloud storage/backup systems
  • Fees for card payments or using paypal
  • Bank charges
  • Advertising (don’t forget costs for things like facebook ads)
  • Staff

You will need to either have physical receipts or invoices for your expenses OR a digital copy.  A photograph of your receipts is now perfectly acceptable instead of keeping paper.

Work from home?

If you work from home you can also claim back a proportion of your costs for things like heating, electricity and internet use on your tax return.  There are different ways to calculate this but you can see how HMRC suggest it’s done here

Once you have all of the information you need to submit your return you can log in online and add your figures.  The self assessment site itself is very easy to use and you can save it as you go rather than enter everything at once.  If the tax due figure has left you reeling, it might be time to look at some emergency marketing for January – we have a few ideas here.


We really hope this article has helped you to gather enough information to be able to complete this year’s tax return.  If you want more support to help grow and run your business, it’s what we do best.  You can become a member and join hundreds of other photographers who are growing their business with our support here



This article assumes you are a sole trader.  If you are a Limited Company, a partnership or have additional income the above might not be relevant to you.  This article contains affiliate links.  This means if you click on a link and go on to make a purchase we might make a small commission.  We only ever recommend products we know and love but and affiliate income helps keep resources like this one free.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *