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Benefits of Incorporation 2014-15

One of the most important considerations that business taxpayers are likely to face is the question of whether or not they should operate their business as a sole trader/partnership or through a limited company. This could be on start-up of the business or once an unincorporated business has been trading for a few years and has become established.

One of the main tax disadvantages of a sole trader/partnership is that the proprietors are taxed on the total of their business profits irrespective of how much is actually withdrawn from the business. Having to pay income tax and national insurance on relatively healthy profits can put an enormous strain on cash flow where that business is attempting to expand.

Some of the key benefits of incorporation are:

  • personal tax is only payable on profits actually  extracted from the company via salary and dividends ~ compare this with a sole trader where the proprietor is taxed on the total profits arising

  • option to withdraw a ‘low ‘ salary up to £7,956 pa (for the 2014/15 tax year) from the company to avoid any national insurance liabilities. This salary is of course tax deductible against the company’s profits

  • corporation tax payable at only 20% on company taxable profits up to £300,000 pa

  • tax efficient low income tax rates on dividends extracted from the company

  • limited liability ~ subject to personal guarantees

  • flexibility over timing of income extracted from the company

  • business premises can remain in personal ownership

  • funds accumulated within the company can be extracted on a sale of the shares via a capital gain qualifying for Entrepreneurs Relief at the 10% special rate of capital gains tax

Indication of potential tax savings:

The following example provides an indication of the annual tax savings (to the nearest £100) which are currently achievable for 2014/15 at various profit levels by a sole trader incorporating a business:

Profits

Total Tax and National Insurance

Potential annual saving


SOLE TRADER

COMPANY*

£25,000

£4,700

£3,400

£1,300

£50,000

£13,000

£9,200

£3,800

£100,000

£34,000

£29,200

£4,800

£150,000

£59,000

£53,000

£6,000


*Assuming sole director/shareholder is paid a salary of £7,956 pa and that all of the remaining post-tax profits are extracted as dividends.

Utilising the new Employment Allowance

Whereas a salary figure above £7,956 gives rise to Employee Class 1 NIC it should be noted that from April 2014 the first £2,000 per company of EMPLOYER Class 1 NIC liability is exempt.

So for example, with company pre-tax profits of £25,000, increasing the 2014-15 salary of a sole director from £7,956 to £10,000 (equal to the tax-free personal allowance) would result in a modest reduction in overall tax and NIC payable of £164. At the £50,000 profit level with a £10,000 salary the overall tax saving reduces to £112. The net savings take into account the additional corporation tax relief on the higher salary.

However in order to use the Employment Allowance in the most effective way, salary levels must be tailored to each situation by taking into account other factors such as ~ any investment and rental income of a director, the income position of co-directors and the number of and salary levels of other company employees.

The Employment Allowance can also be used against any Employer Class 1 NIC liability of staff employed by a sole trader or partnership but note that it is NOT available to set against any Class 4 or Class 2 NIC levied on self-employed profits.

Full details of the Employment Allowance can be found at the following link:

http://www.marshvision.com/NIC-Employment-Allowance.asp

Greater tax savings

Even further tax savings are of course possible where some of the post-tax profits are retained within the company or where a husband and wife are both directors and shareholders. For example, where £100,000 annual profits are currently shared equally within a husband and wife partnership, the overall tax saving potentially increases to around £7,600 per annum by using a limited company structure.

Avoiding penal marginal rates by using a limited company

The potential for director/shareholders to have flexibility over the amount and timing of salaries and dividends extracted from their company can also be very tax efficient in terms of:

  • Reducing total income below £60,000 thereby minimising the High Income Child Benefit charge.

  • Reducing total income between £100,000 and £120,000 thereby minimising the amount of lost personal allowance.

  • Reducing total income to below £150,000 thereby eliminating the special higher rate applicable to dividends of 37.5% (or 45% for salaries).

If you require advice on incorporating an existing sole trader/partnership business or guidance on how to structure any business start-up then please call us on 01633 215544 or email us at contact@marshvision.com