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Dividend Tax – Good or bad news??
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.
Have you heard of the new Personal Savings Allowance (PSA)?
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.
Will I get £30,000 tax free? Termination Payments
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
HMRC to get access to your bank account
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.
Is this the End of National Insurance?
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.
Goodwill is not so good for tax
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.
What is Overlap Profit?
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
R&D – impact on director remuneration
You are the sole director in a company that undertakes some R&D. The annual profit is estimated at £140,000 for the year ended 31 March 2016 before taking into account the director’s remuneration.
You might think that the most tax-efficient remuneration package is £10,600 for 2015/16 to cover the personal allowance and then net dividends of £28,606 to take the director up to the basic rate band. You also need to consider whether the company can make an R&D relief claim and, if it can, how this might affect your decision.
Salary vs Dividends
If the director takes a typical remuneration package, then the net tax and NI savings over taking a salary of £39,206 would be £5,265, assuming the £2,000 employment allowance is available. This saving is made because dividends received within the basic rate band attract no further income tax plus no NI for the director or the company. This more than outweighs the additional corporation tax suffered on profits retained for dividends.
Taking R&D relief into account
From 1 April 2015 the R&D tax credit for SMEs increased from 225% to 230%. There is no R&D uplift on dividends received – only on salary. This means that paying a £39,206 salary would actually result in a saving over taking a small salary and dividends of £1,208.
What about a larger salary? In fact, if the client wanted to take out more than the basic rate band, then the salary may become even more tax efficient. A £70,000 salary would result in net tax/NI due of £1,366 after the R&D relief (assuming there was sufficient profit to offset the CT relief), whereas a salary of £10,600 and net dividends of £59,400 would result in net tax/NI of £5,883 – so the saving by taking a salary over dividends is £4,517.
HMRC will generally not accept 100% of a director’s salary costs within the R&D claim unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the director was exclusively involved in R&D activity.
While dividends don’t qualify as eligible staff costs for R&D claims, company pension contributions do. New pension freedoms make pension contributions a much more attractive option, so you might want to consider this as part of your remuneration package.
If a company makes pension contributions of £40,000 for the director and they spend 60% of their time on R&D, the R&D relief on this will be £55,200 (£40,000 x 60% x 230%). This means that the overall CT saving on the pension contribution will be £14,240 (((£40,000 x 40%) + £55,200) x 20%). As there’s no NI due on pension contributions, this is an even more efficient option than taking additional salary.
Get the best deal for yourself
For advice on the best split between salary and dividends or help with setting up a limited company and registering for VAT, please contact Alterledger.
How does Principle Private Residence Relief work?
Principle Private Residence Relief (PPR) is useful relief that saves you capital gains tax (18% for basic rate tax payers and 28% for higher rates tax payers) on your main residence, but how does it work, lets take a basic example
Property Purchase Date 30/04/2001
Property Purchase Price £100,000
Date Moved Out 30/10/2010
Letting Start Date 01/11/2012
Date Sold 31/10/2014
Sale Price £200,000
Capital Gains tax calculation
Sale proceeds 31/10/2014 £200,000
Cost (assuming no improvements) -£100,000
Gross capital gain £100,000
Principle Private Residence Relief
Actual Occupation 9.5 Years
Plus last 18 Months of Ownership 1.5 Years
The Property was empty prior to letting
Up to 18 months could be by ‘absence for any reason’
Total period where private residence relief is
available 11.0 Years
Total Period of ownership 13.5 Years
Principle private residence relief
£100,000 x (132 mths/162 mths) £81,481
Gain after principle private residence relief £18,519
01/11/2012 to 31/10/2014 2.0 Years
Lettings relief is to lower of
£40,000 statutory maximum
£81,481 the principle private residence relief in this example
The gain for the letting period
Gain attributable to letting 2/13.5 x £100,000 £14,815
This is the lowest figure
Capital gain after reliefs £3,704
Annual Exemption for 2014/15 £11,000
So in this example there is no tax to pay
For further details see the HMRC Helpsheet 283
For gains on sales prior to 6 April 2014, PPR is available for the last three years of ownership of a property that has been a main residence at any time. This is the case regardless of whether or not it has been occupied during the last three years of ownership.
But as a result of the 2014 Budget, from 6 April 2014 the automatic exemption from tax on gains in relation to the final years of ownership is now restricted to cover the last 18 months rather than three years.
New Childcare Vouchers from Autumn 2015
Childcare vouchers to be withdrawn for new employees
The existing benefits available in the form of childcare vouchers to employees will be withdrawn to new entrants in the Autumn of 2015. The current scheme saves National Insurance contributions for both employers and employees. Employees also save income tax.
New scheme to start in Autumn 2015
The new scheme for childcare vouchers will not be as good for many employees who currently benefit from the current scheme, but where both parents work and are self employed, they can get the government to pay £2,000 towards registered childcare.
How do I set up childcare vouchers?
Childcare vouchers are set up through your payroll scheme and must be available to all eligible employees to receive the tax benefit.
Alterledger can help
For more information on saving employer’s national insurance and preparing for changes to childcare vouchers, contact Alterledger or visit the website alterledger.com.