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It’s early March and spring is in the air. The spring flowers are coming out into bloom – our garden is filled with snowdrops and daffodils. But then again last week we couldn’t see them because of snow! The start of spring though means not just the end of winter but also the end of one tax year and the start of another. This year, on the 6th April, though brings with it the start of a brand new tax – the dividend tax.
You may have seen lots of hype, but just what is it all about. For many of you David or I will already have had a chat, but we wanted to put a few thoughts down on paper for you!
Let’s have a brief look at what it’s all about.
What are the changes?
Change 1 –Grossing up of dividends is scrapped (believe it or not this little change is good news)
Currently all net dividends (this is same as the cash you receive) are grossed up by 100/90 before they are taxed. The 10% difference is a tax credit which is added to reflect the fact that the company paying the dividend has already paid corporation tax. Don’t worry if you don’t get this what it really means for most of us is that this ‘adjustment’ has the effect of reducing how much in terms of dividends taxpayers can really earn before they go into a higher tax band.
So for many company shareholder/directors the scrapping of this rule is good news as it
- Removes an area of tax which many tax payers find confusing as they grapple with gross and net dividends.
- It increases how much cash dividends they can take before they fall into a higher tax band.
Change 2 – Dividend Tax (This is the bad news for most Small & Micro business owner’s)
This new tax is applied to dividend income received in a year which is more than £5,000. The two groups of taxpayers who will be affected and therefore pay more tax in 2016/17 than they did in 2015/16 are:-
- Company directors who take a modest a salary and the rest of their income as dividends
- Taxpayers who have sizeable share portfolios which generate sizeable amounts of income
And when is an allowance not really an allowance?
Everyone will be entitled to a £5,000 tax free dividend allowance. This sounds very generous – after all its tax free. Well it’s not generous and that’s because it’s not really an allowance it’s a new 0% tax band has been created. The net result, is that it reduces a taxpayer’s basic rate tax band.
How much more tax could I pay?
Let’s have a look at the numbers (well I am an Accountant). This should make it easier to understand how the changes are likely to affect you!
The following table summarises the extra income tax which will be payable next year (2016/17) compared to this year (2015/16). Or put in simple terms for any Dividends you take from 6th April 2016 onwards!
|Cash Dividend||2015/16 Tax||2016/17 Tax||Increase|
The dividend tax is particularly punitive for the many family owned businesses where both the shares and income is split between both the husband and wife. In these cases the tax increases (as shown above) are doubled. So now coupled with increased operating costs in your business as a result of Auto Enrolment and the National Living Wage you can see why I am concerned that this is all too much for many small business owners. 2016 is the year of going backwards for many business owners’ in terms of PROFITABILITY unless they act now!
When will I be paying the extra tax for 2016/17?
Under the usual self-assessment rules then this extra tax would be payable in one lump sum payment by 31/1/2018. That gives taxpayers time to put some money aside each month and can budget accordingly.
It appears though that HMRC doesn’t want to wait that long for the extra tax. We understand that HMRC is in the process of amending tax codes for many company directors so that the lower ‘new’ code reflects the estimated amount of tax due on dividend income.
If you are a taxpayer where cashflow is challenging then this change will be bad news as you will be required an extra monthly tax payment to HMRC potentially as early as May this year. This doesn’t give much time to plan and budget.
How will it work?
Every taxpayer is notified of their tax code via a P2 (PAYE coding notice) and those affected the estimated amount of dividend tax will be shown within the notes.
Tip: If you get one of these tax coding notices it’s advisable to check the figures – an incorrect tax code could mean you unwittingly pay way too much or too little tax.
If you are unsure that the code is correct get in touch with your accountant.
What Can I do?
Everyone’s situation is different which I’m afraid mean the possible tax saving options that are available will also be different. That said here are a few ideas:-
Maximise the annual tax free dividend allowance
Everyone is entitled to the new £5,000 allowance. Married couples can spread their share portfolios in order to spread their dividend income and thereby use the whole of their allowance.
Use an ISA
ISA dividends are tax free and will be not be subject to the new dividend tax. You can transfer up to £15,240 worth of shares and investments into ISAs this year.
Maximise a spouse’s income tax allowance and tax band
Married couples should use the whole of their personal allowances and basic rate tax bands, where applicable, so that any dividends that paid to the spouse who pays the lowest rate of tax.
Invest in VCTs
VCT (Venture Capital Trust) are for taxpayers who are willing to take higher risks. Exactly like ISAs VCTs will give a taxpayer tax free dividends. Also like ISAs when the investment is sold the gain or profit is also tax free as it’s not subject to Capital Gains Tax.
Kim KMA Accountancy
This article is for general information only and no action should be taken, or refrained from, as a result of this information. Professional advice should be taken based on specific circumstances in each individual case. Whilst we endeavor to ensure that the information contained in this article is correct, no liability will be accepted by KMA Accountancy for damages of any kind arising from the contents of this communication, or for any action or decision taken as a result of using any such information.
From April 2016 the new Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) will start.
The PSA will apply to all non-ISA cash savings and current accounts, and will allow some savers to receive a generous portion of their interest totally free of tax.
Its expected that 95% of savings will no longer be taxed.
Basic rate taxpayers will receive £1,000 in savings income tax free, higher rate taxpayers get a band of £500 and additional rate tax payers get nothing.
The current TDSI (tax deduction scheme for interest) will stop.
Basically the current situation is that the first £30,000 of a payment which is paid in connection with the termination of employment is tax free, as long as it is not otherwise taxable as earnings. It sounds simple but can be complicated, here is a government example
The Office of Tax Simplication are currently consulting (until 16th October 2015) on changing the rules one solution is to make it more like redundancy payments, take a look at these examples
There will also be some anti avoidance rules that if you are re-engaged within 12 months in similar job with the same company the payments previously made would become subject to tax and NI.
It looks like we are in for some major changes, its not too late for you to have your say, click on this link
If you owe more than £1,000 to HMRC the Summer Finance Bill will give HMRC the power to take it from your bank account!
According to an article on accounting web…
HMRC have said they will contact the taxpayer at least four times about the debt before commencing the DRD procedure. One of those occasions will be a face to face meeting with the taxpayer to establish that they have found the right debtor and calculated the debt correctly. This should avoid the situation where the HMRC letters have failed to arrive, or the taxpayer has not understood the liability.
There are penalties for banks who fail to comply with the notices issued by HMRC.
You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits including the State Pension.
You pay National Insurance if you’re:
- 16 or over
- an employee earning above £155 a week
- self-employed and making a profit of £5,965 or more a year
The Office of Tax Simplification is currently beginning a process of looking at merging National Insurance with Income Tax.
ACCA’s head of tax Chas Roy-Chowdhury warned that an alignment of NI and income tax rates would be crucial prior to a merger taking place.
Whilst This is Money reported…
Middle and high earners could see their tax bills jump under radical plans to merge income tax and National Insurance, a tax expert has warned.
People taking home £50,000 a year could be £230 worse off, but low earners on £20,000 would save more than £530, and those on £30,000 would come out around £380 ahead, according to snap research by Tilney Bestinvest on the potential tax shake-up.
Chancellor George Osborne wants to reduce ‘complexity’ in the tax system to make it clearer exactly how much people have to cough up, and has ordered the Office of Tax Simplification to see if there is a case for change.
The government has already announced a consultation on the pension tax relief system, and I believe that a merger of income tax and NI would likely result in the floated idea of a pension with ISA-like tax treatment. This is because at present, a basic rate taxpayer gets 20% tax relief on pension payments but surely this would increase to 32% under a combined system. It seems illogical to increase tax relief at a time when they are actually trying to reduce the cost to the Exchequer. An equal tax treatment of ISAs and pensions could be a prelude to merging the two, potentially drawing ISAs into some form of lifetime allowance.
Until the Summer Budget 2015 when you purchased a business (not its shares) into a limited company from an unrelated party you could write off the goodwill (Intangibles) against your corporation tax but that has now changed and you can’t, another tax relief bites the dust!
The Policy Statement reads as follows…
In accounting terms, purchased goodwill is the balancing figure between the purchase price of a business and the net value of the assets acquired. Goodwill can therefore be thought of as representing the value of a business’s reputation and customer relationships.This measure removes the tax relief that is available when structuring a business acquisition as a business and asset purchase so that goodwill can be recognised. This advantage is not generally available to companies who purchase the shares of the target company. The current rules allow corporation tax profits to be reduced following a merger or acquisition of business assets and can distort commercial practices and lead to manipulation and avoidance. Removing the relief brings the UK regime in line with other major economies,reduces distortion and levels the playing field for merger and acquisition transactions.
Overlap Profit affects Sole Traders and Partnerships, here are a couple of examples from BIM81080
Example 1 – one overlap period
A business commences on 1 October 2010. The first accounts are made up for the 12 months to 30 September 2011 and show a profit of £45,000.
The basis periods for the first three tax years are:
|2010-2011||Year 1||1 October 2010 to 5 April 2011|
|2011-2012||Year 2||12 months to 30 September 2011|
|2012-2013||Year 3||12 months to 30 September 2012|
The period from 1 October 2010 to 5 April 2011 (187 days) is an `overlap period’.
Example 2 – more than one overlap period
The business in Example 1 continues. In 2015-2016 the accounting date is changed from 30 September to 30 April. The accounts for the 12 months to 30 September 2014 show a profit of £75,000. The relevant conditions for a change of basis period are met (see BIM81045).
The basis periods are:
|2014-2015||Year 5||12 months to 30 September 2014|
|2015-2016||Year 6||12 months to 30 April 2015|
|2016-2017||Year 7||12 months to 30 April 2016|
The period from 1 May 2014 to 30 September 2014 (153 days) is an `overlap period’.
If the taxable profit for 2015-2016 is computed using days, it includes the profits for the `overlap period’ of 153 days (£75,000 x 153/365 = £31,438).
Adding together the overlap profits for the first overlap period of 187 days in Example 1 (£23,054) and the second overlap period of 153 days (£31,438), gives total overlap profits of £54,492 over 340 days.
Tax Cafe point out in their guide ‘Small Business Tax Saving Tactics‘
Why Hasn’t Everyone ‘Cashed In’ Their Overlap Relief Already?
There are two ways to gain access to your overlap relief: cease trading or change your accounting date.
Ceasing to trade is a drastic step: generally not something you are likely to do purely for tax planning purposes. However, it is worth noting that transferring your business to a company is also classed as ‘ceasing to trade’ for these purposes.
Changing your accounting date to access your overlap relief is less drastic, but the downside is that the relief only arises where you are being taxed on more than twelve months’ worth of profit. Despite this, however, there is still generally an overall saving to be made where current profits are at a lower level than the profits arising when the ‘overlap’ first arose. So, with the economy in the state it’s in, now could be a good time to ‘cash in’!
There is also some useful advice in Helpsheet HS222