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Sex working means that your income is probably cash in hand, which can make it harder to manage your money. Here is some advice about rates, tax, money and benefits. 

Money, tax and benefits

We know that a lot of this might seem obvious, especially if you have been working in the industry for a while, but it never hurts to remind yourself.

  • Set your rate - when setting your rates it is important that you ensure you are comfortable with the amount you’re charging. This only concerns you and you shouldn’t be encouraged by anyone else to decrease your rates. Usually, seeing fewer clients for more money is better than seeing more clients for less money.
  • Research rates - if you don’t know what to charge, then it might be a good idea to research what other sex workers (offering similar services) charge. If it is less than what you feel is correct then don’t be swayed.
  • Don’t negotiate - avoid negotiations with clients - if you have this as a firm rule then you’ll avoid regretting services. Once you have set your price, respect it, otherwise no one else will! 
  • Take the money first - always take the money first and please NEVER accept cheques or promise of a bank transfer. 
  • Make sure they have the cash - if a client says they don’t have enough cash on them and want to pop back after they have been to a cashpoint, please don’t give them a service and do not let them back in the flat once they have left. They might have been having a look at the flat to plan how to return and rob/attack the premises. 
  • Keep your money safe - once you have the money, place it somewhere secure where the client cannot get it. Be sure to frequently remove the money from the hiding place – it’s never good to have large sums together. 
  • Paying tax - as far as the Inland Revenue is concerned, any money you earn from sex work is taxable. This means that if you claim benefits and are caught engaging in sex work it can be considered as fraud or deception. If you are not claiming benefits your income should still be declared. Please see advice on registering as self employed with the HMRC.
  • Check your benefits -if you’re paying tax but find your income is low and you are struggling to get by, you could be eligible for welfare help such as Tax Credits to increase your regular income and help with rent and Council Tax. Please give us a call for further advice.

No one likes to talk about tax but sadly, it’s a necessity! The best thing to do is to register as self-employed. You do not need to declare your occupation as an escort (although some people do). If you do not feel comfortable doing so, you can say you are a ‘complementary therapist’ (such as a self-employed counsellor or masseuse).
 Register with the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise Departments here:

It is relatively painless but try to do it as soon as possible, or at least within the first three months. If you register after three months you might get a fine for working without registering.

Don't forget you can claim travel expenses and a lot of the things any other self-employed person will be claiming as tax deductible. Keep a record of all business expenditure otherwise you will end up paying too much tax.

It can be a good idea to put around 30 per cent of your earnings aside, preferably in a savings account, so you receive interest. Keeping money aside for tax will mean that you won’t get a nasty surprise when it is time to pay!

If you do not register and the Inland Revenue investigates, they can force you to pay tax for all the years you didn’t pay, as well as fines. This is a horrible situation so please be careful. 
For more advice on tax and escorting, please go to or contact SWISH for more information.
The Inland Revenue sound scary but their phone operatives are usually really helpful and friendly.  

Last review: 25/09/2014

Next review: 25/09/2017