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.
What is an OnlyFans Creator?
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.
How to become an OnlyFans Creator
The process to register a profile on the platform is fairly easy and free. Moreover, neither you nor your fans are required to sign any kind of contract. Note that due to the explicit content, you need to be 18+ to create an account.
To sign up, you need to insert your email, create a password and provide OnlyFans with your ID (this is a precaution to avoid minors using the platform) and bank details to be able to receive money from your subscribers.
As a second step, you’ll be required to choose your subscription rate, which subscribers will need to pay before being able to access any of your content. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure yet, you can always change it later!
However, note that Onlyfans has a minimum and maximum amounts you can charge for your subscription:
Minimum: $4,99 per month
Maximum: $49,99 per month
You can also decide to offer content for free, giving access to your fans without an initial paywall. Even in this case, you can still monetize with other features, such as the pay-per-view ones and more.
Read more on this here
How much can I make as an OnlyFans Creator?
On average a novice OnlyFans creator makes around $150 (£130) per month. But, according to EarthWeb, top creators make on average $100,000 (£86,446) per month.
There are a few ways you can earn money on OnlyFans:
- Subscription service, as mentioned before, this can range from $4,99 to $49,99 monthly per subscription
- Tips from private messages
- Personalised or interactive content
- Referring creators: you can receive 5% of the referee’s income for the 1st 12 months up to $1 million.
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.
When choosing your rate, remember that OnlyFans takes 20% of every user’s transaction. Therefore, for example, for every £10 transaction, you’ll receive £8.
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.
Do I need to pay tax? And how do I pay tax?
This all depends on how much money you make with OnlyFans (and outside OnlyFans).
If you earned less than £1,000 a year with OnlyFans you do not need to do anything. HMRC lets you earn £1,000 a year through platforms like OnlyFans without worrying about income tax.
If you earned more than £1,000 a year with OnlyFans, you need to submit a tax return. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to pay tax. It just means HMRC wants to know a little bit more about your situation in case you start earning more in the future.
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:
- Tax allowance: 0% of earnings (You’ve earned between £0 and £12,570)
- Basic rate: 20% of earnings (You’ve earned between £12,571 and £50,270)
- Higher rate: 40% of earnings (You’ve earned between £50,271 and £150,000)
- Additional rate: 45% of earnings over £150,000
Don't forget that you'll also need to pay National Insurance on your income if you earn over £11,908 in a year.
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.
What can I expense as an OnlyFans Creator?
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.
Note that if you use the £1,000 tax free trading allowance you won’t be able to claim expenses.
You can read more on what the Government considers expenses here.
For a content creator you might expense things like:
- A laptop
- Editing software
- A camera
- A phone
- Materials that feature in your content
- Transport if travel is involved
- If you’re WFH then some of your rent, phone bill, broadband, energy bills
How Can Earnr Help?
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.
Other OnlyFans articles
Looking for more? Why not check out some of the other articles we've written to help you with your OnlyFans business?