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dividend tax

So you’ve got a stake in a company, and they’re sending dividends your way. Feels good, right? But hang on a minute, how much of that is going to end up with HMRC? It’s a question that often leaves people scratching their heads. We’re here to demystify the complexities of UK dividend tax.

We’ll cover everything from the rates to allowances and even some savvy ways to be tax-efficient. Trust us, by the end of this, you’ll have a solid grasp on how to handle your dividend income without any nasty surprises. Let’s get right into it.

What is a Dividend?

A dividend is essentially your slice of the company’s success, paid out in cash. It’s your share of the profits that the company has made, after all taxes have been settled. If you’re at the helm of a limited company, dividends are often your most tax-efficient route for income.

But don’t get too excited; dividends aren’t a business expense. That means you can’t deduct them when you’re working out your Corporation Tax. So, while it’s a great way to pay yourself, it’s not a way to reduce your company’s tax liability.

Issuing a Dividend: The Basics

So you’re ready to distribute dividends? The first step is to convene a directors’ meeting to formally declare the dividends. This is a legal requirement, even if you’re the only director in the company. Document the meeting with minutes, as you’ll need this for your records. For each dividend payment, you need to issue a dividend voucher. This isn’t just a formality; it’s a legal requirement. The voucher should include several key pieces of information:

  • The date the dividend is paid
  • The name of your company
  • Names of the shareholders receiving a dividend
  • The amount each shareholder is getting

Table 2: Steps to Issue a Dividend

StepDescription
Hold Directors’ MeetingConvene a meeting to formally declare the dividends.
Document MinutesKeep a record of the meeting, including the dividend declaration.
Issue VoucherCreate a dividend voucher detailing the payment, date, and shareholders.

Understanding Tax on Dividends

Let’s delve deeper into the tax implications. Your company doesn’t pay any tax on the dividends it issues. However, you, the shareholder, might have to part with some of your dividend income. This depends on your overall financial situation, including other income streams you might have. The upside? Dividends are exempt from National Insurance Contributions. This is a significant advantage, as it allows you to potentially lower your tax liability. Therefore, many people opt for a low salary and supplement their income with dividends.

HMRC, Dividend Tax, and Self Assessment

If you’re receiving dividends, you’ll likely need to complete a Self Assessment tax return. This isn’t just for the self-employed; anyone with income outside of PAYE needs to do this. On this form, you’ll declare your total dividend income.

The tax rate you’ll pay isn’t just based on your dividends; it’s dependent on your total income. So, it’s crucial to consider all income streams when calculating your tax liability.

Failing to do so can result in penalties, so it’s worth getting it right the first time.

The Annual Tax-Free UK Dividend Allowance

Here’s a bit of good news from HMRC. You can earn up to £1,000 in dividends in the 2023/24 tax year without owing any Income Tax. This is over and above your Personal Tax-Free Allowance of £12,570. It’s a small win, but every little helps.

Think of it as a small bonus from the taxman, a way to encourage investment and shareholding in UK companies.

Dividend Tax Rates for the 2023/24 Tax Year

Tax rates can fluctuate, but for the 2023/24 tax year, here they stand:

  • Basic-rate taxpayers: 8.75%
  • Higher-rate taxpayers: 33.75%
  • Additional-rate taxpayers: 39.35% These rates are set by the government and can change in line with economic conditions. It’s crucial to keep an eye on these rates, especially if you’re a higher or additional-rate taxpayer, as even a small change can have a significant impact on your tax liability.

Table 1: Dividend Tax Rates for the 2023/24 Tax Year

Tax BandTax Rate on Dividends
Basic-rate8.75%
Higher-rate33.75%
Additional-rate39.35%

Practical Examples

Let’s say you have a salary of £9,100 and dividends of £50,000. Your total Income Tax would be around £6,685.86 for the 2023/24 tax year. These figures give you a ballpark estimate, but individual circumstances can differ.

For example, if you have other income streams like rental income or freelance work, this will affect your overall tax rate. It’s always best to consult a tax advisor for a tailored calculation.

Maximising Your Take-Home Pay

Want to keep more of your hard-earned money? Consider taking a salary up to the National Insurance Threshold (£9,100 for 2023/24) and topping it up with dividends. This combination can help you stay within the Basic Rate tax band, thereby reducing your overall tax liability.

It’s a strategy used by many directors and shareholders to maximise their take-home pay while staying within the legal framework.

Making Dividends Work for You

Dividends can be a fantastic way to pay yourself, but you’ve got to know the rules of the game. Now that you’re equipped with this comprehensive knowledge, go ahead and make those dividends work in your favour.

If you have questions or uncertainties, speak to Countplus for personalised advice. We can help you navigate the complexities and ensure you’re making the most of your dividend income.

Dividend Tax – Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)


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