Accountants Chester – Tax Tip No. 58

As the end of the tax year approaches, it is prudent for those operating their business as a personal or family company to review the profits extracted so far in the tax year and to consider whether it is beneficial to take further profits before the end of the tax year.

There are various ways in which profits can be extracted, and not all routes are equal from a tax perspective. When extracting profits, it makes sense to do so as tax efficiently as possible, while meeting any non-tax considerations that may need to be taken into account. For example, while it may be tax efficient to pay a salary or dividend to a family member, there may be non-tax reasons for not doing so.

Option 1: Salary and bonuses

Where the personal allowance of £12,570 is available in full, it is tax efficient to pay a salary or bonus up to this level. As the personal allowance is equal to the primary Class 1 National Insurance threshold for 2023/24, there will be no employee National Insurance to pay. If the employment allowance is available, there will be no employer’s National Insurance to pay either. However, remember, personal companies where the sole employee is also a director are not entitled to the employment allowance. If the employment allowance is not available, employer’s National Insurance is payable at 13.8% on the excess over £9,100.

If you have not paid a salary or bonus of £12,570 yet this tax year and have the funds available to extract from your company, you may wish to consider paying the shortfall before 6 April 2024.

Option 2: Dividends

Dividends can only be paid from retained profits, and if you have sufficient retained profits, you may wish to pay a dividend before the end of the tax year, particularly if shareholders have not used their dividend allowance, which is £1,000 for 2023/24 and available to all taxpayers regardless of the rate at which they pay tax. The dividend allowance falls to £500 from 6 April 2024, so it may make sense to take dividends before that date if they would be tax-free in 2023/24 but taxed in 2024/25.

Remember, unless you have an alphabet share structure, dividends must be paid in proportion to shareholdings.

Option 3: Pension contributions

It can be very tax efficient for your company to make contributions to your pension scheme on your behalf, particularly if you have not used your annual allowance for the current year, or have unused allowances from the previous three years. The lifting of the lifetime allowance charge paves the way to make further contributions if your pension pot has reached £1,073,100. Your company is able to deduct the contributions in calculating its taxable profits.

Option 4: Benefits in kind

You can also take advantage of tax exemptions to extract profits in the form of tax-free benefits. For example, you can make use of the trivial benefits exemption to provide treats costing no more than £50. Remember, tax-free trivial benefits for company directors are capped at £300 per tax year.

Option 5: Do nothing

If you do not need to use your profits outside your company and would pay further tax on any profits extracted, you may prefer to leave them in your company for now. You also need to ensure that you have sufficient funds available in your business to meet your business costs.

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