OnlyFans is an internet content subscription service where creators can earn money directly from their subscribers, the ‘fans’. It’s not just monthly subscriptions that form creator income either, you can receive tips and offer a pay-per-view feature.
For most people the first thing that springs to mind when they think of OnlyFans is adult content, which particularly during lockdown, became the site’s central function. Alongside this, creator categories include fitness instructors, musicians, chefs and celebrities like DJ Khaled and Cardi B. All creating paywalled content that their fans want to see.
The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 really drove an explosion in OnlyFans’s growth, as it not only became popular for visitors but also for creators realising they could earn a (in some cases enormous) side or main income. With a blossoming number of creators all making money from a new format it throws up the easily forgotten questions of creator finances and tax. Let’s take a look.
An OnlyFans creator could be described as someone looking to monetise their profession using the platform. Youtubers might find they generate more income directly from fans paying them than the platform itself. Or Instagram models could see a steadier income from fans than from companies including them in campaigns. Or if you’re really hustling, perhaps you’re across all three.
As an OnlyFans creator you can post images, text and video, and fans pay to follow you for a fee of your choice.
The idea is that you post premium content that has people coming back to the platform as they can’t get it anywhere else. And because there are less restrictions on OnlyFans, a lot of the content is more explicit meaning fans can’t get that content on their usual social channels. Anyone can set up a page to be free or paid and then fans pay for access to exclusive content.
There are a few ways you can earn money on OnlyFans:
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, some creators earn more from tips than they do from subscriptions. Although the subscription service is the bread and butter of the platform and there’s no public data on how much creators earn from tips.
OnlyFans has a minimum and maximum amount you can charge for your subscription service:
Although it’s worth considering what a competitive fee would be if you’re trying to build a following. It’s a fairly saturated market with millions of creators out there, so you also need to be pretty consistent in putting out content to get subscribers.
OnlyFans takes a cut of 20% of your earnings, so it’s worth factoring this in when deciding on your rate.
As with any self-made income you’ll need to pay tax on your income if you make over £12,570 in the tax year.
If you’re doing OnlyFans on the side then you’ll need to understand paying tax as a side hustle. You can read more about side hustles in our blog post here.
If you’re going full-time creator mode then you’ll need to understand paying tax as self-employed. You can read more about going fully freelance in our blog post here.
As you start out you’re more likely to be a sole trader in which case the bands for tax are:
If you start hitting that higher rate of tax then it’s worth setting up as a limited company. This means you’ll pay corporation tax on your earnings at 19% rather than 40%+ income tax. If you’re on the basic rate it’s worth remaining as a sole trader and avoiding the additional admin and costs of setting up a limited business.
Each year you need to fill out a self-assessment tax return. What you pay is your freelance tax bill minus the expenses of running your business. You can read more on how to complete your self-assessment tax return in this Earnr article.
The usual cut off date to complete your self-assessment is the 31st of January if you’re doing it online, and 31st of October if you’re completing the form by post.
As a creator you’ll have various running costs depending on the work you do. You can deduct these costs from your taxable profit as long as they’re eligible expenses.
So if you earn £50,000 and you claim £9,000 in expenses, you’d only be taxed on £41,000 for the year.
For a content creator you might expense things like:
You can read more on what the Government considers expenses here.
Earnr makes self-employed bookkeeping easy, so that you can spend less time worrying about this kind of stuff and more time growing your business.
You can separate your business transactions from your personal ones, track your expenses and get a real-time tax estimate so you know whether or not you need to submit a tax return.
Check it out here.
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