The changes to personal tax, national insurance (NIC) and pension contribution in 2016-17 mean that you should review your remuneration strategy before the new tax year begins.
Paying a salary just below the NIC primary threshold of £8,060 will preserve your entitlement to the state pension, and incur no employee or employer’s NIC. Any payment above the secondary threshold (£8,112) will incur employer’s NIC. In the past, the employer’s NIC would have been covered by the employment allowance of £2,000. This allowance is increasing to £3,000 for 2016 -17, but only where the company has two or more employees, including the directors.
Any dividends you receive in excess of £5,000 will create a tax charge for you (see Dividend Tax on Page 1). As the 10% dividend tax credit is abolished, you will be able to receive more cash as a dividend before tipping into the higher rate of tax (32.5% on dividends).
Where your company trades from premises that you own personally, paying rent instead of dividend should be considered. Rent is taxed at 20%, 40% and 45%, but there is no NIC and the company can set the rent paid against its profits. However, on a future sale of the premises entrepreneurs’ relief on the gain could be restricted.
Once you are aged 55 or over you have complete flexibility over how and when to withdraw cash from your pension fund (subject to charges). This makes employer pension contributions a very attractive option. The contribution is tax deductible for the company and attracts no tax or NIC for you, as long as your pension annual allowance is not exceeded. This favourable treatment of pension contributions may not last. The ideal combination of these factors will vary for each person. Talk to us about the implications for you and your company of each type of payment.