RIFT Refunds: Daredevil Accountants
19th October 2018
With season 3 of Daredevil dropping any time now, it got us thinking: who does Matt Murdock’s taxes? Being a barrister by day and crime-fighting super-ninja by night puts you in a complicated financial situation. It’s never easy to juggle two demanding jobs, even when you haven’t got the Kingpin breathing down your neck. Add to that the day-to-day hassles of being a small business owner in a competitive field and you’ve got all the makings of a paperwork nightmare.
Picture the scene: Matt Murdock himself walks into the RIFT offices to talk through his business and expenses. We sit him down and get to work:
RIFT: Good afternoon, Mr. Murdock. Let’s get straight to it. Have you done any “devilling” recently?
MM: Excuse me?
RIFT: Devilling. It’s the legal term for acting as a junior assistant to a barrister. It’s an allowable expense, you see.
[Yes, this is absolutely a real thing, you can read about it in the English Bar Council Ethics and Practices website! - Ed]
MM: Oh – no, not recently. I do a lot of pro bono work these days, though. One time, I got paid in fish…
RIFT: Of course. Well, your day-to-day running expenses are all pretty simple. You can’t claim travel costs for your regular commute from your home to your Chambers, but you do seem to get around a lot otherwise. Are you claiming your full Blind Person’s Allowance? It raises the amount you can earn before paying tax to £2,390 a year.
MM: I wasn’t sure about that. My other senses are heightened, so…
RIFT: Yes, well superpowers aren’t really covered under the current tax laws, so until they catch up you’ll still get the allowance. You’ve got to be careful, though. Your Personal Allowance is only applied to one of your jobs. We’ll need to make sure it’s attached to your legal work, or you won’t get the benefit of it. Other than that, you’re looking at all the regular expenses: business use of phones, accountancy fees, accommodation, food and so on. You have some professional body and insurance fees, I presume?
MM: Yes. Bar council, my practice certificate, indemnity insurance, Data Protection Act payments. That sort of thing.
RIFT: Excellent. Those will all count against your taxable profits. Don’t forget your computer software costs, stationery and postage, too. It all adds up. Now – let’s talk about your other job. Any particular travel expenses there?
MM: My other…? Oh – well, I travel mostly by, uh… rooftop for that, so…
RIFT: Hmm. I don’t think that’s going to count. Are you using a lot of specialised equipment or clothing?
MM: Well, I’ve got my billy clubs - and my costume’s got some armoured parts, if that helps. Do I really need to declare all of this? It’s not like I’m being paid for any of that.
RIFT: You do still need to file a Self Assessment return even if your business doesn’t make a profit. The good news is that your… um, “hand tools” should count toward your annual expenses. You said you had work clothes too?
MM: It’s technically more of a costume than a uniform, really.
RIFT: Could you use it outside of work at all? For casual wear?
MM: Not really. I mean, I’d look pretty out of place at the supermarket with it. It’s very specialised. It’s got these little horns…
RIFT: Sounds like an allowable uniform, then. That’s good. How about your home? Are you getting any business use out of that?
MM: I’ve got a friend who comes over and stitches me up when I get stabbed by a ninja sometimes. I don’t really pay her, though.
RIFT: Doesn’t sound like you’re going to be able to claim for that.
MM: That’s fine. Honestly, I really do try to keep my personal and work lives separate anyway.
RIFT: Interesting. Had you considered setting yourself up as a Limited Company? As far as HMRC is concerned, you and your business would be completely distinct legal entities. Two separate “people”, in fact. I could show you the paperwork – but in the meantime, we’ve got plenty more to go over. Let’s start with what it actually costs to become a superhero. All those martial arts and gymnastics skills, for instance. Any gym memberships I should know about?
At the end of the day, we’re pretty sure we could land the knockout blow on Daredevil’s Self Assessment tax returns. You don’t have to be a superhero to tackle the taxman, though. All you need is the right financial sidekick.
Talk to RIFT about your second job or business. We’ve got the sharpest senses in the accounting world, and you can count on us to hit the Bullseye.
Daredevil Season 3 begins on Netflix on 19th October. We'll be watching.