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Government Snips Tax Bill for Hair Industry Workers in Landmark Decision

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Qualified hairdressers and barbers working the industry across the UK are celebrating the news that they can now claim tax relief on their State Registration fees paid to the Hair Council.

The Hair Council has convinced Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to recognise the hair and barber industry as a profession. The HMRC has agreed to add the Hair Council to the Government’s list of professional bodies approved for tax relief.

The landmark decision has been described by the Hair Council as another major step forward in gaining professional recognition for the industry. In the past, the Hair Council’s State Registration fees paid by hairdressing and barbering salon owners were considered a taxable benefit and they had to pay extra National Insurance on top.

Shirley speakingNow, due to the change, the fees are an allowable expense which can be used to reduce profits and thus reduce corporation tax. Hairdressers or barbers who pay the fee themselves can now claim income tax relief on the cost. Membership costs £36 to £42 a year for an individual qualified stylist or barber based on their qualification and experience within the industry.

It’s the latest in a series of encouraging victories to raise the profile of the hairdressing and barbering industry in the UK, which have been led by the Hair Council and its political director and board member for Wales, Shirley Davis-Fox, MBE.

Mrs Davis-Fox, chair of Bridgend-based ISA Training, the largest independent hair and beauty training provider in Wales, is campaigning for the mandatory State Registration of all qualified hairdressers and barbers in the UK to professionalise and regulate the industry.

Anyone can currently set up in business in the UK and work with potentially dangerous chemicals as a hairdresser or barber without having the necessary qualifications.  State Registration with the Hair Council is currently at the discretion of individual hairdressers.

The Hair Council is pressing the Governments in Westminster, Cardiff and Northern Ireland to introduce mandatory State Registration. An All Party Parliamentary Group for the Hair Industry has been formed at Westminster following lobbying by the Hair Council and Mrs Davis-Fox is now pressing for the same thing to happen at the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff.

As part of its commitment to the ongoing development of its learners, ISA Training pays for the first year’s State Registration of all those who complete their Level 3 advanced hairdressing apprenticeship.

Many salons and colleges across Wales have followed suit and are now insisting that all their qualified hairdressers and barbers are State Registered.

“The Hair and Barber Council is delighted that the HMRC has accepted our position relating to income tax relief in respect to annual subscriptions,” said Mrs Davis-Fox. “This decision enforces the council’s determination to get the hair and barbering industry professionally recognised and to continue working for mandatory State Registration.

“It has been accepted that the membership fee paid by our members will not be treated as a benefit in kind and, as such, it does not have to be included in the HMRC return for tax purposes.

“This is another huge step forward for the industry and follows our political lobbying which has resulted in the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Hair Industry being formed in Westminster. Members of the National Assembly for Wales are also supporting our campaign for a cross party group to be established at the Senedd and we hope to hope have more news on this development soon.”

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