Dividends and the New Tax Regime

Posted by on Feb 7, 2016 in News Alerts, Newsletters | No Comments

From 6th April 2016, one of the most far-reaching reforms to personal taxation comes into effect. The Dividend Tax Credit system is being replaced by an annual tax-free Dividend Allowance of £5,000. Dividends above this allowance will be taxed at a graduated rate.

As a result, whereas until now an individual with an overall income within the standard rate tax band had no tax to pay on dividends, from April tax will be payable as soon as the Personal and Dividend allowances have been utilised.

Taking the scenario where an individual is currently paid a salary of £15,000 plus dividends to the higher rate threshold and has no other income, the maximum tax-free dividend would have been £25,200.00 under the current structure.

We have summarised below the overall impact of the changes for the 2016-17 tax year between the current and new systems:

2016-17 2016-17
Current Structure New Structure
Salary £15,000.00 £15,000.00
Dividends to Higher Rate £25,200.00 £25,200.00
Dividend Tax Credit £2,800.00
Gross Income £43,000.00 £40,200.00
Dividend Allowance (£5,000.00)
Taxable Dividends £28,000.00 £20,200.00
Tax on Dividends at 10% £2,800.00
Tax on Dividends at 7.5% £1,515.00
Less Dividend Tax Credit (£2,800.00)
Tax on Dividends £0.00 £1,515.00
Net Payment £25,200.00 £23,685.00

 

In this scenario, there would be a tax liability of £1,515.00 where there had been none before.

However, the Dividend Tax Credit system worked on the basis that the dividend received was 90% of the total Taxable Dividends with the remaining 10% being the Dividend Tax Credit. In the example above, although the individual received £25,200.00, under the current regime the Taxable Dividends would be £28,000.00.

From April, the full £28,000.00 will be available and, if this is factored into the model, the comparison is as follows:

2016-17 2016-17
Current Structure New Structure
Salary £15,000.00 £15,000.00
Dividends to Higher Rate £25,200.00 £28,000.00
Dividend Tax Credit £2,800.00
Gross Income £43,000.00 £43,000.00
Dividend Allowance (£5,000.00)
Taxable Dividends £28,000.00 £23,000.00
Tax on Dividends at 10% £2,800.00
Tax on Dividends at 7.5% £1,725.00
Less Dividend Tax Credit (£2,800.00)
Tax on Dividends £0.00 £1,725.00
Net Payment £25,200.00 £26,275.00

 

Whilst there will be a new tax liability of £1,725.00, the abolition of the Dividend Tax Credit system would increase the Net Dividend Amount by £1,075.00.

The new taxation strategy is targeted primarily at business owners who are currently remunerated through a low salary and high dividend model.

Take the example of a business owner who is paid a salary at the National Insurance minimum threshold of £8,060.00 together with dividends of £150,000.00:

2016-17 2016-17
Current Structure New Structure
Salary £8,060.00 £8,060.00
Dividends £150,000.00 £150,000.00
Dividend Tax Credit £16,666.67
Gross Income £174,726.67 £158,060.00
Dividend Allowance (£5,000.00)
Taxable Dividends £166,666.67 £145,000.00
Tax on Dividends at 10% £2,394.00
Tax on Dividends at 32.5% £38,350.00
Tax on Dividends at 37.5% £9,272.50
Tax on Dividends at 7.5% £1,420.50
Tax on Dividends at 32.5% £38,350.00
Tax on Dividends at 38.1% £3,070.86
Less Tax Credit (£16,666.67)
Tax on Dividends £33,349.83 £42,841.36

 

In this case, the tax on the Dividends will increase by £9,491.53 a whopping 28.5%.

However, although these changes are evidently designed to diminish the benefit of being remunerated by dividends, this have not been eradicated completely.

In our next newsletter, we will be comparing a salary versus dividend remuneration strategy and showing that it is still more tax-efficient to operate under a Limited Company as opposed to a sole trader or in a partnership.

We are also running a free Q & A forum on this topic. If you email your question to us at welcome@cooperfaure.co.uk by Monday 15th February, we will include it and our response in a Q & A newsletter we will be publishing on Sunday 21st February.