FAQ on Dividends

FAQ on Dividends

What is a Dividend and how can I issue one?

Over the coming weeks we are going to look at a series of frequently asked questions we receive from clients.  Firstly, what is a dividend?  We want to breakdown and simplify the jargon around dividends: what they are, who can issue them and how they are taxed.

When you own shares in a company there are two ways to make money. Firstly sell your shares or alternatively, you can distribute company profits to shareholders, annually, using dividends.

Who does this guidance apply to?

Ltd Company shareholders

If you are a partnership you share profits in the form of distributions, not dividends.

If you are a sole trader you share profits in the form of drawings.

Sole traders, partnerships and LLPs can’t pay dividends, because they do not issue shares.

What is a Dividend?

A dividend is a payment a Ltd company can make to its shareholders if it has made a profit.

You cannot count dividends as a business cost/expense when you work out  Corporation Tax.

Your company must not pay out more in dividends than its available profits from current and previous financial years.

To pay a dividend, you must:

  • hold a directors’ meeting to ‘declare’ the dividend
  • keep minutes of the meeting, even if you’re the only director

Dividend paperwork

For each dividend payment the company makes, you must write up a dividend voucher showing the:

  • date
  • company name
  • names of the shareholders being paid a dividend
  • amount of the dividend

You must give a copy of the dividend voucher to each shareholder and keep a copy for your company’s records.

Tax on dividends

Your company does not pay tax on dividend payments, however for shareholders they are considered a form of taxable income and are subject to dividend tax. Tax on dividends is set by the Government and is subject to annual change. Currently dividend tax rates are the same for the whole of the UK and are payable on dividend income above your personal tax free allowance (https://www.gov.uk/income-tax-rates). There is also a tax free dividend allowance for the year (currently set at £2000).

Dividend Income Tax bands              Tax rate on dividends over your personal allowance
Basic rate (£0-34,500)             7.5%
Higher rate (£34,501-150,000)             32.5%
Additional rate (over £150,000)             38.1%

So, your dividends will fall into one or more of the tax bands listed above, after your personal allowance and any other income sources have been added together.

Our next blog will look further into understanding income tax and dividend calculations.

 

 

Spring budget tax update

Spring budget tax update

Attack on self-employed in budget

In his first Budget on 8th March the new Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced that he would level the playing field between employees and the self-employed by increasing Class 4 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from 9% to 10% from 6 April 2018 and then to 11% from 6 April 2019.

His justification is that the self-employed are now entitled to more generous state benefits than in the past and thus NIC rate should be increased towards the 12% Class 1 NIC employee rate. Note that the flat rate Class 2 NIC contributions, currently £2.80 a week, will cease on 5 April 2018.

The chancellor stated that only the self-employed with profits in excess of £16,250 will pay more national insurance.


Tax fee dividend allowance to be reduced to £2000

The Chancellor also announced measures to limit the rise in tax-driven incorporation. The £5,000 tax free dividend allowance introduced by George Osborne will be reduced to just £2,000 from 6 April 2018. Mr Hammond claimed that many smaller owner-managed businesses have incorporated as limited companies mainly for tax reasons. Typically the director/shareholders of such businesses have paid themselves in dividends and paid less tax than similar unincorporated businesses.

Currently, once the dividend allowance has been used the remaining dividends are taxed at 7.5%, 32.5% and then 38.1% depending upon whether the dividends fall into the basic rate band, higher rate band or the additional rate. There are rumours that these dividend rates may also be increased in future years.

Although the cut in the tax-free dividend allowance is clearly aimed at owner managed companies, it will also impact on those with substantial share portfolios. Mr Hammond reminded us in his speech that the annual ISA investment limit increases to £20,000 from 6 April 2017 and that dividends on shares held within an ISA continue to be tax free


Start of digital reporting delayed for smaller businesses

The Government is committed to the “Making Tax Digital” (MTD) project which is scheduled to start in April 2018 with the first quarterly updates being submitted by the self-employed and property landlords in July 2018.

Many business owners, professional advisors and the

Treasury select committee had expressed concerns about the timescale for the introduction of MTD. The Chancellor announced that there will be a one year deferral in the start date to 2019 for self-employed businesses and property landlords with gross income below the VAT registration limit.


Changing your accounting date can also delay the start of digital reporting

Another way of delaying the start of Making Tax Digital (MTD) would be to change the year end of your business. The legislation in the latest Finance Bill specifies that MTD will apply to accounting periods commencing on or after 6 April 2018.

This means that if you currently prepare accounts to 30 April then the first quarterly update to be submitted to HMRC will be for the period to 31 July 2018. However, if you changed the accounting date of your business to 31 March then the first quarterly update would be for the period from 1 April to 30 June 2019.

Contact us to discuss the full tax implications of such an action.


Corporate tax measures

The Chancellor announced that the Government is committed to continue to have the lowest corporate tax rate of the G20 major trading nations. As already announced the corporation tax rate reduces to 19% from1 April 2017 and then to 17% from 1 April 2020.

The corporation tax rate for small and medium sized companies trading in Northern Ireland will be reduced so that such companies can compete with those in the Republic where the rate is 12.5%.

The Government is also keen to continue to encourage investment in research and development (R&D) and the Chancellor announced that the R&D tax credit claim procedure would be simplified.


Tax free childcare scheme starts April 2017

The chancellor also announced that the new tax-free childcare scheme is due to start in 2017.

The scheme will provide up to £2,000 a year in childcare support for each child under 12 where the parents save in a special account. If they save £8,000 the government will top up the account with 20% to a total of £10,000 which can then be used to pay for childcare costs.


Business rates relief for small businesses

There has been much lobbying from the small business sector to reduce business rates. The Chancellor stated that 600,000 small businesses currently benefit from small business rates relief.

He also announced that no small business that is coming out of small business rates relief will pay more than £600 more in business rates this year than they did in 2016/17.

In order to support the licenced trade from April 2017, pubs with a rateable value up to £100,000 will be able to claim a £1,000 business rates discount for one year.


Advisory fuel rate for company cars

These are the suggested reimbursement rates for employees’ private mileage using their company car from 1 March 2017.

 

Engine Size 
1400cc or less

1600cc or less

1401 to 2000cc

1601 to 2000cc

Over 2000cc

Petrol
11p

14p

22p (21p)

 

 

Diesel

9p

11p

13p

 

 

LPG
7p

9p

14p

You can continue to use the previous rates for up to 1 month from the date the new rates apply.


New VAT limits

As mentioned earlier, the VAT registration limit increases by £2,000 to £85,000 from 1 April 2017. At the same time the de-registration limit increases to £83,000.


Diary of main tax events

April/May 2017

01/04
Corporation tax for year to 30/06/2016

06/04
2017/18 tax year begins

19/04
Final RTI FPS due by this date. Indicate that this is Final Submission for the Tax Year

19/04
PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/04/17 (due 22/04 if you pay electronically)

01/05
Corporation tax for year to 31/07/16

19/05
PAYE & NIC deductions, and CIS return and tax, for month to 5/5/17 (due 22/05 if you pay electronically)


Contact us to discuss any of these issues

Changes to Dividend Allowance

Changes to Dividend Allowance

Currently only higher or additional rate taxpayers pay tax on dividends. However from April 2016 the Dividend Tax Credit will be replaced by a new tax-free Dividend Allowance.

This means that you won’t have to pay tax on the first £5,000 of your dividend income, no matter what non-dividend income you have.

The allowance is available to anyone who has dividend income.


Headline rates of dividend tax are also changing.

You’ll pay tax on any dividends you receive over £5,000 at the following rates:

7.5% on dividend income within the basic rate band
32.5% on dividend income within the higher rate band
38.1% on dividend income within the additional rate band

We can advise you on how this will affect you and your business.

For Example

“I have a non-dividend income of £6,500, and a dividend income of £12,000 from shares outside of an ISA”

With a Personal Allowance of £11,000, £4,500 of the dividends are under the threshold for tax. A further £5,000 comes within the Allowance, leaving tax to pay at Basic Rate (7.5%) on £2,500.


Further examples and information can be found at
https://www.gov.uk/…/dividend-…/dividend-allowance-factsheet