At Nordens, we help and work with all kinds of businesses no matter what size or industry you may be in. One of the sectors where we have a specialist team working with all clients and cases, is within Creative and Media.
With the social media industry constantly on the rise, we wanted to highlight the tax implications influencers face. We spoke to fitness and wellness guru Victoria Winterford. Victoria is a firm advocate of looking after yourself both mentally and physically, doing what works best for you.
We spoke to Victoria about her journey, how she finds doing taxes, and why more needs to be done for the younger generation to understand and be educated on financial matters…
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and how you make money?
My name is Victoria Winterford and I’m a fitness and wellness coach. I have my own online company, Victoria’s Company, which is all app-based. I really try to help people transform their minds and bodies from the inside out. The journey started for me when I was in a bad place back in 2015. I was at an extremely low weight due to overtraining and over exercising and part of a toxic industry.
There was also some modelling, and it led me into a downward spiral, This culminated into me doing what I’m doing now. I then got onto a couple of TV shows which helped to raise exposure of my coaching. This gave me the platform to help as many people as I can. That’s basically been the last 7 years of my life in a nutshell.
Have you always found it easy sorting out your taxes in your line of work, or is it continually bringing up new grey areas which can get confusing?
I was never taught about taxes or finance, even though I was pretty good at Maths at school. I’ve always been self-employed pretty much, through my own business. I’ve forever done bits of work on the side, and also social media brand work. Luckily my mum has always owned her business, so she helped me to begin with. It’s never been to the extent where I’d feel completely comfortable sorting everything out. Because there are so many ongoing changes, coupled with a relatively new industry, it throws up so many grey areas.
I still don’t feel confident to get online, file and submit my full tax return all by myself. It can be hugely overwhelming because if filed wrong it can lead to so many issues. This relates to credit scores, or even HMRC to come knocking. The social media industry is so broad, wide, and far-reaching, yet there’s no knowledge around tax and finances. Fortunately, I have a management company who sort all invoicing. For many influencers though, they don’t have management and will have to do their tax returns themselves. It’s so easy to lose track of payments which come in as and when, especially if you’re young. Let’s be honest the last thing you want to do is get up a spreadsheet and do all your accounting when you’re a teenager or young adult.
In 2019, the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) began clamping down on social media influencers regarding the transparency of endorsements and sponsored posts. Do you believe there’s a problem of influencer figures avoiding paying taxes or disclosing the correct financial information?
Any brands that I work with, they make it very clear that you need to label the post ‘#ad’. No one really likes doing it thinking it may affect engagement or the algorithm. Many don’t actually understand it’s for legal and financial reasons and not just transparency reasons. I don’t think there’s necessarily a problem. I do think if you don’t have the management or the knowledge then it can be a huge issue. This is where education and information is crucial.
Instagram actually won’t allow you to post unless you click that it’s a paid advertisement. This is good, but there needs to be more knowledge on these platforms to inform and educate influencers. At the minute, the knowledge around paid ads is pretty non-existent. Platforms have the capacity to inform users on these issues in an engaging and fun manner. In my opinion, this would help clear a lot of the problems up. It would also let the influencer know that anything that is paid, will then need to be declared.
Is enough being done to educate and inform social media influencers, or traders in general, on the complex UK tax system? Whether that be in school, further education, or even from government?
Absolutely there is definitely not enough knowledge on this subject, in all aspects of the education system. One of the big things I’m currently working on is helping children in school. In my opinion, the schooling system is very outdated. It needs to catch up with a new generational era which is largely online based.
So many children and teenagers now aspire to be content creators and social media influencers, which there’s nothing wrong with. However, it’s critical to teach them about the implications of what being an influencer comes with. This relates to not just the mentality and impressionism behind it, but also the financial and tax implications. As a whole just isn’t taught to the level it needs to be.
Looking after your finances, saving your money, setting aside enough money for your tax each year, gaining knowledge on mortgages and creditworthiness. These are just some examples of things that are necessary components of knowledge when being an adult. Teaching these subjects to secondary school pupils I think is so important, especially by doing it an relatable and fun way. Let’s be honest, tax and accounts has always been very off-putting for the younger generation, even for a lot of adults. Getting clued up on this is so vital in my opinion.
How have Nordens helped you with your tax payments and accounts? Do you believe accountancy firms can promote their services more to social media influencers?
Nordens have been instrumental in my success, and have taught me so much. They’ve been such a solid backbone for me in terms of my finances. My to-do list is always extensive every single day, and unfortunately my taxes and accounting just aren’t a priority on a day-to-day basis. I can call, message or email Nordens at any time, with any problems I have, and I know they’ll take care of it. Whether that be my personal accounts, my corporate accounts, info on my business, I always feel confident that the matter will be resolved in a quality and timely manner.
When I do need actual advice and information for myself to learn, Nordens always provide me with the resources necessary. I then come away feeling confident and knowledgeable as a business owner. It’s all the little things that the average trader and business owner just don’t realise that we need to be on top of. I can’t stress enough the amount that Nordens have helped me in collating my business and lifestyle together in a free-flowing and manageable entity.
We hope this has outlined to you some of the grey areas that social media influencers experience around tax. If you’d like to know any further information on anything mentioned, or anything accounting related for that matter, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at Nordens, where one of our trusted advisors would be happy talking you through your query.