Veterinary update: Remuneration planning

Published: Tuesday 14 February 2023

A shareholder/director of an owner managed business could receive up to £19,570 tax free in the 2023/24 tax year and up to £20,570 tax free in 2022/23 if structured appropriately and depending on the individual's circumstances and other income. This can be achieved through a combination of low salary, high interest and dividends and could equate to tax free income of up to £41,140 for couples.

We will be looking at all of this in the next few weeks and will be contacting you with advice tailored to your individual circumstances. In the meantime, if you would like further information regarding the below, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Veterinary team.

Salary

The personal allowance is currently £12,570 and is expected to be frozen at this level until April 2026.  An annual salary is often set below this amount, however, for directors at the threshold at which no employee’s or employer’s national insurance contributions (NIC) will be payable.

A basic salary payment of £758 per month (£9,100 per annum) for 2023/24 as with 2022/23 will mean that NICs will not be payable by the director or employer, but the director will still receive credit towards their state pension for the relevant tax year.

A salary equivalent to the personal allowance i.e. £12,570 could also be considered for 2023/24 (£11,908 for 2022/23) if the company's employment allowance could be utilised such that no employer's NIC liability would arise.

Dividends

The dividend rates for both 2022/23 and 2023/24 are:

Income Dividend tax rate
£12,570 - £50,270 8.75%
£50,270 - £150,000 33.75%
>£150,000 39.35%

 

 

 

 

Despite the health and social care levy being scrapped and NIC rates being adjusted back to their previous rates, no similar reduction has been announced for dividends. Furthermore, the current tax free dividend allowance of £2,000 is set to reduce to £1,000 from April 2023. Any additional dividends are taxed as the top-slice of income, so the tax bands that dividends fall within will be affected by other income; if income exceeds £100,000 the personal allowance is restricted by £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000.

Payment of dividends is a standard way for a company to distribute its profits amongst its shareholders but there are a number of rules which apply to the payment of dividends which should be highlighted including:

  • Dividends can only be paid where there are sufficient reserves within the company.
  • Dividends must be paid in accordance with the rights pertaining to the individual’s shares. If two shareholders hold the same type of share, then they are both entitled to the same amount of dividend per share.  You cannot pay different amounts of dividends on the same class of share.
  • The effective date of a dividend for tax purposes is the date on which payment becomes unconditional which is for:
    • Interim dividends – the date the company pays the dividend (this could be physical payment or a credit to the DLA).
    • Final dividends – the date of the shareholder resolution to approve the dividend (normally just before the accounts are finalised).
  • Payment of dividends must be noted in the minutes of the relevant board meeting.
  • Dividend vouchers must be produced prior to 6 April and provided to shareholders documenting each dividend payment.

In addition to the above, as the standard rate of corporation tax is due to rise to 25% from April 2023, it may now be more tax efficient for directors to be remunerated by full salary and only utilising the dividend allowance rather than taking a small salary and the majority of their remuneration as dividends.

Some examples of scenarios where a higher salary or bonus should be modelled and considered instead of dividends include:

  • Where the director is likely to receive remuneration in excess of £550,000 for the tax year.
  • Where the company is eligible for R&D tax relief and a proportion of the director’s salary costs could potentially be claimed for enhanced relief.
  • An employee of the company on a higher base salary that also holds some shares in the company. 

Interest

For 2022/23 and 2023/24, the personal savings allowance is still available which means that the first £1,000 (basic rate taxpayers) or £500 (higher rate taxpayers) of interest received will be tax free in each year.

In addition to this, for individuals who receive only investment income in excess of the personal allowance (£12,570), the first £5,000 of interest will be subject to the starting savings rate of 0%.

If an individual does not currently receive enough interest from other sources and has loaned money to the company, you may want to consider paying interest at a commercial rate on the loan in order to fully utilise these allowances. The company would need to deduct basic rate tax from the interest payments and submit a form CT61 to HMRC.

The information included in this is based on current tax legislation which is subject to change and amendment.  Before acting on the information, you should confirm that there have been no changes in the relevant tax legislation which could affect this information.

Content image: /uploads/team/unknown.jpg Phil Swan
Phil Swan
Partner, Veterinary and Pharmacy
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Content image: /uploads/team/unknown.jpg Mark Harwood
Mark Harwood
Partner, Veterinary
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Content image: /uploads/team/unknown.jpg Suzanne Headington
Suzanne Headington
Partner, Veterinary
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Content image: /uploads/team/unknown.jpg Harriet Partridge
Harriet Partridge
Associate Tax Director, Veterinary
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