Friday, 13 December 2013

Should my client deduct National Insurance from my voiceover fee?

So, you were booked for a voiceover job, submitted your invoice and then, before you get paid, the client asks you for your full name, date of birth and National Insurance number. 

If you supply this information and you are a self-employed freelance voiceover artist, you will find that - once you have been paid - they have deducted National Insurance Contributions (NICs). You may well have expected to be paid in full - especially if you are already paying your own NICs.

NIC deductions ONLY apply to voiceover artists who are self employed. If you are set up as a Sole Trader or a Limited Company, this doesn't apply. 

Our Accountants know of no occasion where a Limited Company should have National Insurance deducted from them. Limited companies are not liable for National Insurance in any form.

However we have had several clients, over the years, try to deduct NICs from our invoices. And in each and every case we have fought this and won.

This is because the voiceover contract is between BigFish Media and the client - not between the client and the Voiceover Artist. This is a key point. 

The clients' accounts departments have been mis-interpreting HMRC regulations. Or applying rules that do not apply to Limited Companies.

Here is a link to HMRC’s “Guidelineson the NIC Rules for Entertainers” which summarises the decision in ITV versus HMRC. 

HMRC says that “Entertainer” for these purposes is defined as a person employed as an actor, singer or musician or in any similar performing capacity. This includes such professions as dancers, voiceovers and walk-on parts. This would apply to all contracts entered into with an “Entertainer” or their agent.

However our clients are engaging BigFish Media as an agent for a voiceover artist. Hence the contract is between the client and BigFish Media. 

Any responsibilities for deductions and maintaining records of the ‘Voiceover Artist’ therefore fall outside our client's responsibility. Our Voiceover Artists are neither shareholders nor directors or in any way a connected party to the business. Whilst we appreciate the change required by HMRC relating to all employees' information to get paid, this falls outside the scope of it.

Our Voiceover Artists are self-employed contractors to BigFish Media (and in some cases Limited Companies in their own right.)

So, should your client deduct National Insurance from your voiceover fee? 

In a word, NO.