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Tax Guide for Freelancers

BECTU provides guidance for its members on a range of issues and tax is one of the most important.

HMRC operates a helpline to assist workers in film production with enquiries about actors, 7 Day Rule, expenses, dispensations, employment status and special letters (including Lorimer letters). Tel 0191 419 8800 / 8813 or email

Freelances working for TV broadcasters can contact the HMRC on 0161 261 3254 / 3255 / 3691.

Freelances often have to manage their tax themselves but can also, depending on grade, be subject to the specific requirements of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. A guidance document provided by the HMRC for workers in film and tv is attached to this page.

BECTU's Tax Guide for Freelancers

In addition the union publishes its own guide for members (last updated in November 2013). The guide covers:

  • Advice on tax status
  • Accepted schedule D grades
  • The 7 day rule
  • Schedule D v PAYE
  • PAYE: permissible expenses
  • PAYE: subsistence allowances when working away from base
  • PAYE: subsistence expenses when working away from base
  • Working abroad
  • VAT
  • Service companies
  • National insurance status

BECTU members should log-in to access the full document.

Freelance members who occasionally work under PAYE should also consult the Tax guide for employees.

Freelances and PLI

Public liability insurance cover, up to £10m per claim, is available to the union's freelance members at low cost. (Just £21 for the policy which runs from 1 May 2014 - 30 April 2015).  More info on PLI hereJoin BECTU  More on benefits and services.

Crewbus freelance members directory - have you prepared your entry? Contact Sharon Elliott for more info.

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