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Contractors Tax Planning

The most tax efficient remuneration strategy for 2018/19

What a contractor should do with their salary each monthFollowing on from last year’s budget, I was asked by many contractors how it will affect the most tax efficient way for them to pay themselves in the coming year. Of course, I could just rattle off the figures that the Chancellor announced, but that is what an ordinary accountant would do… I would prefer to give you a practical breakdown and a pound-for-pound ‘how to’ or ‘what to do’ response.

Have you got your pen and paper ready?

From April of 2018, the most tax efficient remuneration strategy for a contractor will be to pay themselves £3862 per month, and to save £203 per month of that amount to cover the personal tax bill that will follow in due course. Therefore, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Monthly salary: £702 per month
  • Dividends: £3160 per month
  • Put aside for tax: £203 per month

*these figures are rounded up to the nearest pound.

If you do this, you will use up all of your personal allowance and basic rate tax band without going into the new higher rate tax bracket of £46,350 as set by the latest budget. These figures are based purely upon the earnings that you take from your business, and do not take into account any other income that you receive from areas such as interest on savings and investments or rental income. As promised, this is a not a technical, over-complicated blog post, so please call the office if you would like to know how any additional incomes will affect the numbers above.

For clarification: the £203 per month is representative of the 7.5% dividend tax and we always recommend to our clients that they save this as they go. The truth is that it was never your money in the first place – so don’t spend it. Save it wisely and you might even make a few pounds of interest at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Get greedy and get expensive!

Here is the bad news. Obviously, if you have got a significant need to take more than £3862 per month from your business, you might need to get a little more creative, investigate some other strategies, or just bite the tax burden bullet. If you choose the latter: these are the costs you will incur.

For every £1000 that you pay yourself in dividends, over and above the £3160 per month, you will be liable for £325 at the higher 32.5% rate of tax. And if you go really wild and end up topping the £100,000 per year barrier, your rate will sky rocket into unspeakable stratospheres – in fact, it is so expensive that I can’t even bring myself to mention the number here!

Just in case you do want the Chancellor’s numbers again:

Most of my customers want announcements like The Budget translated into practical steps, as above. As a simple summary of the bottom line: this is what you need to do so that you will be better off at the end of the day, month, year and lifecycle of your working life.

But I know there will be a few who want the original numbers too…

Here goes:

  • The personal allowance has risen from: £11,500 to £11,850
  • Size of the basic tax rate band has changed from: £33,500 to £34,500
  • Which means that the new Higher Rate Tax bracket is now: £46,350
  • And the new Dividend Tax Allowance has dropped from: £5,000 to £2,000

If you have any questions, please get in touch.