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R&D – impact on director remuneration

It’s generally more tax efficient for a director shareholder to extract the majority of profit from a company as dividends rather than salary. But what if the company is undertaking R&D? Is this still the optimum remuneration strategy?

Example

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.

Pension contributions

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.

The default response of a dividend being more tax efficient than salary may not be applicable if the director undertakes R&D work for the company as there’s no R&D uplift on dividends. So it’s vital to crunch the numbers before agreeing the most tax-efficient remuneration strategy.

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.

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.

English: British National Insurance stamp.

English: British National Insurance stamp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Letters for under 21s

Changes for employees under 21

From 6th April 2015 employer national insurance contributions will be abolished for under 21s.  If you employ anyone over 16 and under 21 years old you will need to use one of the new letters for under 21s in the national insurance category setting of your payroll software.

English: British National Insurance stamp.

English: British National Insurance stamp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Secondary contribution rates

This table shows how much employers pay towards employees’ National Insurance for tax year 2014 to 2015.  The contribution rate calculated by your payroll software is set by the category letter.

Category letter £111 to £153

a week

£153.01 to £770

a week

£770.01 to £805

a week

From £805.01

a week

A 0% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
B 0% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
C 0% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
D 3.4% rebate 10.4% 13.8% 13.8%
E 3.4% rebate 10.4% 13.8% 13.8%
J 0% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
L 3.4% rebate 10.4% 13.8% 13.8%

National insurance categories

Most employees will have a category letter of A or D depending on whether or not they are in a contracted-out workplace pension scheme.  There are categories for mariners and deep-sea fisherman; the more common categories are shown below:

Employees in a contracted-out workplace pension scheme

Category letter Employee group
D All employees apart from those in groups E, C and L in this table
E Married women and widows entitled to pay reduced National Insurance
C Employees over the State Pension age
L Employees who can defer National Insurance because they’re already paying it in another job

Employees not in contracted-out pension schemes

Category letter Employee group
A All employees apart from those in groups B, C and J in this table
B Married women and widows entitled to pay reduced National Insurance
C Employees over the State Pension age
J Employees who can defer National Insurance because they’re already paying it in another job

Employees in a money-purchase contracted-out scheme

This kind of scheme ended in April 2012 but some employees might still be part of one.

Category letter Employee group
F Tax years before 2012 to 2013 only: all employees apart from the ones in groups G, C and S in this table
G Tax years before 2012 to 2013 only: married women and widows entitled to pay reduced National Insurance
C Employees over the State Pension age
S Tax years before 2012 to 2013 only: employees who can defer National Insurance because they’re already paying it in another job

How to claim zero rate of employer contributions

You should already have proof of age for all your employees.  A copy of a passport, driving licence or birth certificate will be required to show that your employee qualifies for the new zero rate of employer’s contribution.  The seven new categories are valid from 6th April and must be applied from the first salary payment after 5th April 2015 to benefit from the new zero contribution rate for employers.

What does this have to do with Auto Enrolment?

You need to have proof of age for all your employees aged under 21 to claim the zero contribution rate for employer’s National Insurance.  By the time of your staging date you must assess all your workers, based on their earnings and age.  To help you prepare for Pension Auto Enrolment you can make sure that all your employee records are up to date and that your payroll software has the full details for all workers including their date of birth.  This is a good opportunity to clean up all your employee data.

Alterledger can help

For more information on saving employer’s national insurance and preparing for Pension Auto Enrolment, contact Alterledger or visit the website alterledger.com.

 

Will you pay Class 3A NI to top up your Pension?

This is exactly how I pictured the partners lounge

From 12 October 2015 to 5 April 2017 you’ll be able to make a ‘Class 3A voluntary contribution’ to top up your State Pension by up to £25 per week.

You can choose to top up your State Pension by between £1 and £25 per week. How much you’ll need to contribute depends on:

  • how much extra pension you want to get each week
  • how old you are when you make the contribution

Example You are 68 years old in October 2015. You decide that you want to get an extra £5 per week (£260 a year) on top of your pension.

The cost of an extra £1 per week for a 68 year old is £827, so you multiply £827 by 5.

You’ll make a lump sum payment of £4,135.

You can use this calculator to see how it works…

https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-topup

Here is a link to the legislation…

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2014/9780111121689/contents

steve@bicknells.net

Say goodbye to small earnings

Say hello to small profits

HMRC has changed the name of the threshold for paying Class 2 National Insurance from the Small Earnings Limit to the Small Profits Threshold.  If you earn less than £5,965 in 2015-16 you won’t need to pay Class 2 NI, but if you do, it will be calculated as part of your 2015-16 tax return and due with the rest of your tax by 31st January 2017.

English: British National Insurance stamp.

English: British National Insurance stamp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alterledger can help

For more information on filling in your tax return, contact Alterledger or visit the website alterledger.com to see if you can organise yourself better and cut your tax bill.
 

Self Employed National Insurance

Changes to payment of National Insurance

HMRC has announced changes to the way that the self-employed will pay their Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance Contributions (NIC).  This is not the first time the process has changed.  Some people still refer to paying their stamp – in days of old you had to buy special stamps for your NIC!

English: British National Insurance stamp.

English: British National Insurance stamp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No new direct debits

Until recently I would have encouraged the self-employed to set up a Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) with HMRC to pay their Class 2 NIC.  From April 2015 HMRC will calculate the NIC due from your self-assessment tax return.

Deferment of National Insurance Contributions

If you currently defer NIC, you don’t need to re-apply to do so.  HMRC will be sending out letters in December to everyone who currently defers NIC to confirm this.  Any new applications to defer NIC will not be processed.  For more information on National Insurance for the Self Employed please go to my blog post here: Class 2 NIC.

Alterledger can help

For more information on filling in your tax return, contact Alterledger or visit the website alterledger.com to see if you can organise yourself better and cut your tax bill.

 

Have you paid too much National Insurance?

dreamstimefree_75244

Unlike Income Tax which is cumulative and assessed across all earnings, National Insurance starts from zero on each individual employment and you also pay National Insurance on Self Employed earnings.

So if you are a Director of multiple businesses paid as an employee its easy to see how you could over pay and you might not even realise because National Insurance is not shown on your Self Assessment Return.

You can also over pay National Insurance if you are a part time employee with multiple employers and irratic earnings, this because National Insurance is calculated on a weekly/monthly basis, not a cumulative basis and its by employer.

What you need to do

Write to HM Revenue and Customs confirming:

  • your National Insurance number
  • why you’ve overpaid
  • the tax year(s) you’ve overpaid

You should include your P60 or a statement from your employer showing the tax and National Insurance for each year you’re claiming for.

You should apply within 6 years of the tax year you’re claiming for.

HM Revenue and Customs
Payment Reconciliation
National Insurance Contributions Office
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

steve@bicknells.net

Do you think National Insurance should be merged with Income Tax? it could happen soon

Close up of payslip

The Tax Payer’s Alliance have been  campaigning and it looks like the Chancellor, George Osborne, has agreed that the first step is to re-name National Insurance as “Earnings Tax”. The change is to be proposed in legislation this week.

This story was reported in the Telegraph on 23rd February. There is also an interesting article on Tax Research UK (Richard Murphy).

You pay National Insurance contributions to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the State Pension.

You pay National Insurance if you’re:

  • 16 or over
  • an employee earning above £149 a week
  • self employed and making a profit over £7,755 a year (Class 4) plus £2.70 per week Class 2 NI (you may not have to pay any Class 2 NI if your profits are below £5,725)

If you’re employed, you stop paying Class 1 National Insurance when you reach the State Pension age.

If you’re self-employed you stop paying:

  • Class 2 National Insurance when you reach State Pension age (or up to 4 months after this to pay off any contributions you owe)
  • Class 4 National Insurance from the start of the tax year after the one in which you reach State Pension age

Income Tax is whole different ball game. Whilst I can see its simpler to have one tax the changes that would be required to achieve it would be huge!

Is it worthwhile?

steve@bicknells.net

Karren likes the Employment Allowance – £2000 will be very NIC(E)

Fotolia_45741373_XS cash

This is what Karren Brady said…..

She has a point, £2,000 will be a big help to many SME’s.

The Employment Allowance is available from 6 April 2014. If you are eligible you can reduce your employer Class 1 NICs by up to £2,000 each tax year.

You can claim the Employment Allowance if you are a business or charity (including Community Amateur Sports Clubs) that pays employer Class 1 NICs on your employees’ or directors’ earnings.

If your company belongs to a group of companies or your charity is part of a charities structure, only one company or charity can claim the allowance. It is up to you to decide which company or charity will claim the allowance.

You can only claim the £2,000 Employment Allowance against one PAYE scheme – even if your business runs multiple schemes.

You cannot claim the Employment Allowance, for example if you:

  • employ someone for personal, household or domestic work, such as a nanny, au pair, chauffeur, gardener, care support worker
  • already claim the allowance through a connected company or charity
  • are a public authority, this includes; local, district, town and parish councils
  • carry out functions either wholly or mainly of a public nature (unless you have charitable status), for example:
    • NHS services
    • General Practitioner services
    • the managing of housing stock owned by or for a local council
    • providing a meals on wheels service for a local council
    • refuse collection for a local council
    • prison services
    • collecting debt for a government department

You do not carry out a function of a public nature, if you are:

  • providing security and cleaning services for a public building, such as government or local council offices
  • supplying IT services for a government department or local council

Personal and Managed Service Companies who pay contract fees instead of a wage or salary, may not be able to claim the Employment Allowance, as you cannot claim the allowance for any deemed payments of employment income.

Service companies can only claim the allowance, if you pay earnings and have an employer Class 1 NICs liability on these earnings.

You can use your own payroll software (see your software provider’s instructions), or HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC’s) Basic PAYE Tools to claim the Employment Allowance.

When you make your claim (using the software of your choice), you must reduce your employer Class 1 NICs payment by an amount of Employment Allowance equal to your employer Class 1 NICs due, but not more than £2,000 per year.

You can read the full guidance here

Will the Employment Allowance be NICE for your business?

steve@bicknells.net

No more Class 1NI for Self Employed Entertainers

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Following 18 months of extensive engagement with representatives from all fields of the entertainment industry, HMRC published on 15 May 2013 a public consultation document: ‘National Insurance and Self-Employed Entertainers’, which discussed the precise difficulties being caused by the current application of the Regulations. The consultation presented four possible options for simplifying the NICs treatment of entertainers going forwards.

The consultation ran for 12 weeks receiving 11,814 individual responses of which 99.1% supported the option of repealing the Social Security (Categorisation of Earners) Regulations in relation to the entertainers. On 23 October 2013 HMRC published a summary of the consultation responses which included the announcement of the Government’s decision to repeal these Regulations insofar as they relate to entertainers from 6 April 2014 and a first draft of the legislation implementing this.

From 6 April 2014, producers engaging entertainment performance services will not be required to deduct Class 1 NICs contributions from any payments they make to you. This includes additional use payments such as royalties. The engager will make payments to the entertainer gross of tax and NICs and the entertainer must declare these earnings as part of their normal self-employed Self-Assessment return.

Please note that this guidance does not apply if you are an entertainer on an employment contract, and receive a regular salary from your engager with tax and NICs deducted at source under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system.

If you engage the services of entertainers

From 6 April 2014, you will not be required to operate Class 1 NICs for the entertainers you engage. If you are currently deducting employees’ Class 1 NICs from the payments you make to your entertainers (including additional use payments such as royalties), and paying the respective employers’ Class 1 NICs on these payments, you should continue to do so up until 5 April 2014. From 6 April 2014 however you should cease to do this.

The changes will be of interest to all national broadcasters, film companies, theatre managers, independent production companies, their representative bodies and agents in the Film & TV Production Industries, Equity, individual entertainers, companies engaging entertainers, and any other interested parties.

See HMRC Brief 35/13 for more details

steve@bicknells.net

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