Your Q2 round-up of the latest tax and accountancy news.

EXTRACTING PROFIT FROM THE FAMILY COMPANY

As it is still fairly early in the new tax year, if not done so already, shareholder/ directors may want to review the salary and dividend mix for 2019/20. The £3,000 employment allowance continues to be available to set against the employer’s national insurance contribution (NIC) liability which means that where the company has not used this allowance it may be set against the employers NIC on directors’ salaries.

Thus, where the only employees are husband and wife there would generally be no PAYE or employers NIC on a salary up to the £12,500 personal allowance.

There would, however, still be employees NIC at 12% on the excess over £8,632 (£166 per week) which would be £464 on a £12,500 salary, leaving £12,036 net.

Taxation of Dividend Payments in 2019/20

Traditional advice would then be to extract any additional profits from the company in the form of dividends. Where dividends fall within the basic rate band (now £37,500) the rate continues to be 7.5% after the £2,000 dividend allowance has been used. Thus, where husband and wife are 50:50 shareholders they would each pay £2,663 tax on dividends of £37,500 assuming they have no income other than a £12,500 salary, leaving £34,837 net of tax.

Therefore, a combination of £12,500 salary and £37,500 in dividends would result in £46,873 (93.7%) net of income tax and NICs.

Ensure dividend payments are legal

The Companies Act requires that companies may only pay dividends out of distributable profits. This means that in the absence of brought forward reserves the company would need to provide for 19% corporation tax in order to pay the dividends and thus there would need to be profits of £92,593 in order to pay dividends of £75,000 (after providing corporation tax of £17,593).

Overall the combination of salary and dividends suggested above would result in net of tax take home cash of £93,746 for the couple out of profits before salaries and corporation tax of £117,593 (20.3% overall tax). This still compares very favorably with the amount of tax and NIC payable if the couple were trading as a partnership.

 

TAX PLANNING TO MINIMISE THE HIGH-INCOME CHILD BENEFIT CHARGE

The substantial increase in the higher rate threshold to £50,000 is good news for many taxpayers. However, that same figure is the point at which child benefit starts being clawed back and there has been no increase in that threshold since the High-Income Child Benefit Charge was introduced in 2013/14.

The charge applies if you have adjusted net income over £50,000 and either:

  • you or your partner get Child Benefit
  • someone else gets Child Benefit for a child living with you and they contribute at least an equal amount towards the child’s upkeep

It does not matter if the child living with you is not your own child. Adjusted net income is your total taxable incomebefore any personal allowances and less things like Gift Aid and pension contributions.

The charge is 1% for every £100 that adjusted net income exceeds £50,000 multiplied by the child benefit claimed in respect of the children. Child benefit continues to be paid at the rate of £20.70 a week for the eldest child and £13.70 for each additional child.

Example

A couple with 2 children would receive £1,789 a year in child benefit. If the husband, a sole trader, made a profit of £55,000 (also his adjusted net income) after paying his wife a salary of £12,000 he would have to pay the high-income child benefit charge of £894 (for 2018/19) in addition to his normal income tax and NIC bill.

If he brought his wife into partnership and they shared profits equally their income would be £32,500 each and there would be no high-income child benefit charge. Similarly, if the business was a limited company they would be able to equalize their income so that the charge would not be payable.

 

PERSONAL SERVICE COMPANY CHANGES FROM APRIL 2020

In the Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced that the "off payroll" workers rules that currently apply in the public sector would be rolled out to the private sector in 2020. The government have now issued a consultation paper that sets out proposed tax and national insurance changes that will impact on those supplying their services through personal service companies.

End users will be required to determine whether the rules apply to the services provided by the worker via his or her personal service company. This will be a significant additional administrative burden on the large and medium-sized businesses who will be required to operate the new rules. The current CEST (Check Employment Status for Tax) online tool would be improved before the proposed start date.

No change for “Small” Employers

“Small” businesses will be outside of the new obligations and services supplied to such organisations will continue to be dealt with under the current IR35 rules, with the worker and his or her personal service company effectively self-assessing whether the rules apply to that particular engagement.

The definition of “small” has been widely awaited and the Government have confirmed that it intends to use the existing Companies Act 2006 definition. That is where the business satisfies 2 or more of the following features:

  • Annual turnover of £10.2 million or less
  • Balance Sheet total of £5.1 million or less
  • 50 employees or less

The new obligations to determine whether the rules apply, deduct tax and national insurance, and report payments under RTI will apply to the agency or intermediary making payments to the personal service company where the end user is large or medium-sized. There will be an obligation to pass details of the status determination up and down the labour supply chain.

The liability for tax and national insurance will be the responsibility of the entity paying the personal service company, however if HMRC are unable to collect the tax from that entity the liability will pass up the labour supply chain, thus encouraging those entities further up the supply chain to carry out due diligence to police compliance.

 

Please contact us if you would like to discuss how the proposed changes are likely to impact on your business.