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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Tax treatment of the entertainment industry: theatrical performers: fees paid to agents

Section 352 ITEPA 2003

A deduction is permitted by Section 352 ITEPA 2003 for fees paid to agents by theatrical performers out of employment income.

For this purpose a theatrical performer is an actor, singer, musician, dancer or theatrical artist. This means that a deduction can be given to any person with a particular theatrical talent in respect of an employment under which they perform in public. A deduction cannot be given to non-performers, such as a stage manager. It can be given to individuals whose talents are not primarily theatrical but who are employed to perform in a theatrical setting, for example a sports personality appearing in a pantomime.

To qualify for a deduction the theatrical performance need not take place in a theatre. Any setting for a performance is sufficient, such as a television programme, a film or a concert hall. For example, in Madeley and Finnigan v HMRC (SpC547, 2006) a Special Commissioner held that the television presenters, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, were employed as “theatrical artists” when working for Granada Television to present the “This Morning” magazine programme. The Special Commissioner was satisfied that their work on the programme amounted to a theatrical performance. He interpreted the expression “theatrical artist” to mean:

“a performer or entertainer, performing with a theatrical bent, or in the manner of acting or theatre, but not necessarily in the theatre.”