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Trading or not on social media

Client receives free products to photograph - income?

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I have a client who is active on social media. She has approx 6,000 followers which classes her as a micro influencer. She takes pictures and does reviews of board and card games. 

This started with her own collection but she now receives some products for free from other companies, some she contacts and asks if they want to send her the game in exchange for a photo/review and some contact her offering the same.

The companies have no editorial control over the review 

She does not charge for making the social media posts but the items she is sent to photograph do have a value as most are available to buy 

Not all offers of products are accepted

She also makes her own games (via a limited company) and uses her page to advertise those. 

The social media was not set up with a view to making a profit and only a small number of posts are adverts/reviews

The value of the goods received are not huge (maybe £1,000 over a year) and would be covered by the trading allowance so there has not yet been any loss of tax

My question is should the products she receives for free be treated as income?

I also have a food photographer client who is paid for his work and also eats the food after the photos have been taken. In this case the payment is treated as income but the value of the food is not.

My feeling is that the client is not trading and that freebies do not count as income but I would be interested in your views on this

Thanks

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By Anonymous.
03rd Jul 2020 20:24

DonDan wrote:

I also have a food photographer client who is paid for his work and also eats the food after the photos have been taken. In this case the payment is treated as income but the value of the food is not.

I doubt the value of photographed food is great.

True story, a friend once got some free chicken that had been the subject of a photo shoot. He cooked it and his friends all got food poisoning but he didn't.

What does your client do with the games after she has reviewed them? I've no idea what they are - do they have any material realisable value? (It is Friday evening but I can't think of any obvious requirement to consider the market value.)

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Replying to Anonymous.:
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By DonDan
03rd Jul 2020 22:52

Some of the games are kept and some given away. Retail price of the games ranges from about £10 to £30. They are board games and card games so second hand value would not be significant.

I don't think it's material enough to worry about considering it as income but the client is a worrier

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By Calculatorboy
04th Jul 2020 14:53

I doubt she's doing it with a view to profit?
Sounds like it's a hobby

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Replying to Calculatorboy:
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By Tax Dragon
06th Jul 2020 15:06

Although she's presumably aiming to make money from her own games, so it's not quite as clearcut as this, I would suggest.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By DonDan
06th Jul 2020 15:42

I agree re it not being entirely clear cut. The game design/production etc is run through a limited company and there is no doubt that the social media aspect has been helpful with the production side of things.

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