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Music CDs claimable for self employed musician?

Music CDs claimable for self employed musician?

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My client is a self employed musician, doing a mixture of private tuition, and playing gigs. He will purchase a music CD to help pupils understand a piece of music, or to get an interpretation for a piece he is playing. He obviously also purchases CDs for his own enjoyment. Has anyone experience of how the tax man view s this, and what might be considered a reasonable claim for professional use / development?
Jeremy Hall

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By acountancy.lindsayandco.n
23rd May 2007 20:40

Allowability of expenditure on CDs
I don't think this expenditure is any different in principle to considering whether any other expenditure is allowable as a deduction in computing profits.

If the musician buys CDs just for his personal enjoyment, then obviously this is personal and cannot be claimed as a business profit. However, if a CD is bought to hear an interpretation and learn from it, with the intention of trying to improve one's playing for a performance, I cannot see any problem with claiming the cost as a deduction. Just because the client may enjoy listening to the piece as he learns is no reason to prevent it being allowed as a deduction.

If you buy books on tax in connection with your practice, just because you like reading them(!!!) does not mean they cannot be allowed as a deduction from your profits.

Once many years ago, my old firm had a professional musician and I received a letter from the Revenue asking to what extent, his instrument was played privately. Obviously the person in the Revenue thought of it like non business use of a car. However, no professional musician ever, ever plays purely for pleasure. There is always a motive, either trying to improve, or keep up the standard for future performance. The Revenue accepted there was no private use.

I am not entirely sure what you mean by professional use/development. I think expenditure is really all or nothing. If there is duality of purpose no part can be claimed.

Hopefully my comments will enable you to decide what can be claimed.

I write the above not only as an FCA but also as a musician who is professionaly qualified. I do not earn any money as a musician as I currently play in a church on a voluntary basis.

David LRAM LTCL

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By geoffemtacs
25th May 2007 16:02

Ah - right
What I meant was that someone who is proficient and professional in one field of music could on the face of it justify expenditure in that field but would have trouble justifying expenditure in a different genre. So, you might think that say, a Church organist could claim for buying organ CDs but would have trouble claiming for the purchase of Madonna's Greatest Hits.

Where it gets very grey is that for some musicians, such a purchase may be justifiable because they are listening with a wish to inform their own playing through listening to everything. But some musicians would be buying it because they like to dance to Borderline and they shouldn't be entitled to claim.

Anything that has to rely on what's in the taxpayer's head is going to be a grey area.

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By acountancy.lindsayandco.n
25th May 2007 15:03

Losing the plot
Geoff, I am not sure what point you are trying to make. I responded to a perfectly reasonable question and you seem to have gone off at a tangent.

Possibly you have something against church organists.

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By acountancy.lindsayandco.n
24th May 2007 18:01

Allowability of a musician's expenses
I am not sure of the point Geoff is making in his second sentence. What is NWA's Cop Killer or a DJ/scratcher. Or what I am supposed to have difficulty in claiming for.

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By geoffemtacs
24th May 2007 19:32

NWA
A fine band from LA purveying some seriously aggressive rap/hip-hop, NWA standing for the charming [***] with Attitude. Their biggest hit was probably Straight Outta Compton which I'm sure you know well as it's such a big favourite with church organists the world over.

Scratching is the art of moving a piece of vinyl backwards and forwards under a needle in a way that produces a noise and a rhythm as background to other music.

Bet you're OK on Thomas Tallis.

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By geoffemtacs
24th May 2007 13:27

No probs
The cost of CD's and the cost of going to watch other people play is something we routinely claim (we specialise in musicians). It's a grey area really as you might think that my church organist friend below might have trouble claiming for his copy of NWA's Cop Killer. But I have known (and claimed) for a DJ/Scratcher purchasing music by Thomas Tallis.

A professional musician would tell you that after a while it becomes hard to listen to music without a critical and a learning ear. So even the most unpromising claim could have some justification if well-argued.

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