Crew Payroll

Crew Contracts 

  • The production office will issue the crew and cast contracts. The production accountant should be involved with the drawing up of the initial contract to make sure there are no financial flaws.
  • The production accountant will need to advise the production office on the tax status of individuals so the correct contract can be drawn up.
  • Once the accounts office receives the completed contract, they should verify that the rate agrees with budget and dates agree with time allowed in budget and make adjustments in the costings to allow for any variances.

The Start Form 

The crew member should complete a start form which may give greater detail than the contract.

Booking form.doc

Some organisations issue a deal memo which is similar to a start form and is often attached to the front of the contract.

Commonly requested information:

  • Title – Mr/Mrs etc
  • Name – as it appears on the passport.
  • Address – including post code and if foreign, must include country.
  • Date of birth – If the individual is over retirement age then you can accept age exemption certificate, passport or driving licence as proof of age for NI purposes.
  • Gender – this is mandatory.
  • National Insurance number – this is not mandatory but will help HMRC make sure any deductions are attributed to the correct record.  Where you do not have the NINO you should leave the entry box blank
  • Department and job title – this will help determine their tax status
  • Agent name and/or service (loan-out) company
  • VAT registration number if applicable
  • Bank details – in the case of a service company this should be the company’s details and not an individual’s
  • Pay rate and additional contracted allowances – this should be checked against budget and contract
  • Holiday pay
  • Start date – check with budget to make sure this accords with what was expected
  • Student loan – details of whether student loan deductions are applicable
  • Starting Statement – see P46 below

Other information you might want to consider for the start form:

  • Emergency contact – name and telephone number
  • Driving licence details
  • Email address, mobile phone number, telephone number
  • Budget account coding
  • Regional/cost eligibility
  • Working Time Directive leave calculation

Start Form Documentation 

You may need to collect other documentation at the same time the start form is received.

These could include the following:

  • Passport copies
  • Right to work visa if applicable

Some organisations will request copies of employee’s passports. These can be used to confirm the right to work in the UK. However, further proof may also be required.  If you know your employee’s passport number it should be included in your RTI return.  Auditors may request passport copies when auditing the accounts for UK tax relief.

Tax coding is as follows

A – Apply the standard tax code for the current year i.e.:  nnnnL continuous basis

B – Apply the standard tax code for the current tax year on a week 1 basis

C – Use tax code BR

If no statement is signed then you must assume statement C and you must apply the tax code 0T on a week 1 basis.

Daily Crew/Start Payment Form 

  • This form is similar to the crew start form, it should request all the same personal information as the standard crew start form, including those mandatory items
  • As this form acts as a short form contract it should include some wording for signing rights as well as guidance as to where the company’s policy documents are held.
  • Under RTI a starting statement is also required from these employments
  • There should be a section for completing days/hours worked and rate to be paid.
  • The employment will need to be approved so include a section to allow authorisation signatures which may include HOD, Line Producer and Accountant.
  • Right to work checks are also required for daily crew.

National Insurance Categories

When an employee joins a production the Production Accountant has to decide which category of national insurance applies to that individual. As a general rule, they will be liable for employee’s NIC between their 16th birthday and their state pension age. However, you cannot assume this. The following link takes you to an HMRC flowchart that should help you decide what national insurance category applies:-

Age Exception Certificate

An employee who reaches their state pension age does not have to pay national insurance contributions thereafter.  Their birth certificate or passport is sufficient evidence to determine whether they have reached state pension age.

Guidance on Tax Status 

Before paying an individual for the first time it is necessary to decide if an employee/worker is to be treated as employed or self-employed.

HMRC have a set of guidelines to help you make the decision. The criteria changes regularly and you should make yourself fully conversant with the latest rules. You can find HMRC guidance here

It is the Company who is liable for any deductions that were not made at source. Therefore you should err on the side of caution when you believe there is any ambiguity in the nature of the contract. You can always reverse deductions at a later point whereas it can prove difficult to recover deductions that weren’t made. It is always better to contact HMRC and seek their advice on an individual case. They will give you an opinion that you can then follow.

HMRC have caveats to their guidance for those who can be self-employed such as if they use their own equipment or work from their own premises.  You will need to be able to qualify your decision with equipment lists or proof that the individual has their own premises.

Industry guidelines can be found here

Limited Service Companies 

From April 2021 (delayed from April 2020) IR35 rules applying to limited service companies moves the responsibility from the service company to the organisation receiving the individual’s services (see IR35 below). Where it is deemed appropriate to contract an individual through a limited services company, the contract should be made with the UK registered limited company. Professional advice should be sought where the company is based overseas.  Any payments made must also be made to the company and not an individual.

Sole traders and partnerships will need to be treated carefully and where in doubt an opinion from HMRC is always the best policy.


NOTE: New rules apply from April 2021 (delayed from April 2020).

Intermediaries legislation (known as IR35) is the Tax and National Insurance contributions legislation that may apply if you’re working for a client/production through an intermediary.

IR35 was introduced to legislate against individuals using a Limited Company structure or similar to avoid being paid via payroll and the subsequent taxation. Such Companies often pay their shareholders in dividends rather than via a payroll and this form of payment can effectively side-step PAYE and National Insurance deductions, ultimately reducing the individual’s deductions from income. Some people describe such Companies as “loan out” Companies.
Pre 6 April 2016, any Company (client/production) paying a “loan out” Company had no responsibility to enquire as to the tax status of the “loan out”. However from that date and moving forwards, the law has changed so that “Public organisations” are now obliged to make enquiries of such Companies. If, as a result of that enquiry, a Public organisation is satisfied that the payee Company is not ‘an individual trading through a Company to avoid being put on payroll’ then the payment can be made in full to the Limited Company. If the payee cannot satisfy the Public organisation then IR35 legislation must be applied and operated.

The intermediary or “loan out” is actually responsible for ensuring compliance with the IR35 legislation when it applies. The director(s) of a limited company or a member(s) of a partnership must ensure compliance with all relevant legislation, and also take responsibility for determining whether IR35 applies for each of their engagements or not.

If IR35 doesn’t apply to a particular engagement then clear and relevant records of the terms and conditions should be kept for at least 3 years, including contracts. If the contract changes or there is a new engagement, the application of IR35 must be reassessed.
The application of IR35 legislation involves the deduction of PAYE and National Insurance from the Company as if it were an individual being paid through the payroll. When such deductions are made, the Company making the deduction must supply an IR35 form to the payee and the payee Company can then use that for to avoid paying Corporation tax on income already taxed under IR35.

Pre April 2021, in the Private Sector the responsibility for ensuring that IR35 is applied falls on the loan out Company itself. If IR35 does apply then the loan out Company must inform the paying Company who must then apply IR35. Many Limited Companies making payments to “loan out” Companies will not be Public organisations and therefore pre April 2021 they had no responsibilities under IR35 unless informed by a loan out Company that it should be applied. However, from April 2021, the law has changed such that all bodies making payments for individual’s services should make enquiries to determine whether IR35 applies.  This change in the law moves the responsibility for the application of IR35 from the payee to the paying.

There can be significant consequences of ignoring IR35 legislation. Interest and penalties may be charged on any additional tax and National Insurance contributions due as a result of an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) enquiry.

Seven Day Rule

For daily PAYE employments only. This rule applies to the first days of employment. If the payment is for a period of 6 days or less than you can apply tax code NT to the tax calculation.

Things you will need to consider are:

  • Is this the first employment?
  • The period needs to include weekends and days off – not just work days.
  • If it is known that the current employment will be for longer than 6 days, even if they are not concurrent then the tax code should be used in accordance with the rules for the starting statement that was signed.
  • Can you prove there was no continuing employment?
  • Day 7 is the trigger day not the eighth so once day 7 has been worked you cannot use the NT tax code.
  • Note – National Insurance is still due on any payments.

HMRC: Behind camera workers short term engagements