Tax tips for Family Businesses

Family Businesses

Find out how family businesses can reduce their tax burden with some practical forward thinking

Owners and managers of family-owned businesses rightfully spend the vast majority of their time ensuring that the business runs well and generates profits. In the midst of such a demanding task, it can be easy to overlook some tax considerations that can potentially be significant.

The topic of tax in the context of family-owned businesses is a large one – however, there are a few key considerations to bear in mind:

Sections


How is your business set up?

Most family-owned businesses are set up as companies, but some do run as partnerships. These two structures differ in terms of tax, and it is worthwhile for business owners to consider which structure could be most beneficial for their business.

Companies may pay lower rates of tax initially, but further tax (including National Insurance Contributions in the case of salary/bonuses) is often due when higher profits are extracted. Partnerships however are tax transparent, so profits are taxed as they arise, even if they are not extracted (but are taxed only once). It is generally easier to convert a partnership into a company than the other way around.


How are you extracting funds?

The business has a choice, broadly speaking, of paying dividends or paying salary/ bonuses. However, recent legislation has attempted to narrow the tax difference between companies and sole trader/partnerships.


Dividends

The Finance Bill 2016, published on 24 March 2016, contains the new rules for dividends.

Summary:

  • From 6 April 2016, the notional 10% tax credit on dividends will be abolished
  • A £5,000 tax free dividend allowance will be introduced
  • Dividends above this level will be taxed at 7.5% (basic rate), 32.5% (higher rate), and 38.1% (additional rate)
  • Dividends received by pensions and ISAs will be unaffected
  • Dividend income will be treated as the top band of income
  • Individuals who are basic rate payers who receive dividends of more than £5,001 will need to complete self assessment returns from 6 April 2016
  • The change is expected to have little impact upon non-UK residents

Impact

The proposed changes raise revenue despite the so-called “triple lock” on income tax. Perhaps aimed to tax small companies who pay a small salary designed to preserve entitlement to the State Pension, followed by a much larger dividend payment in order to reduce National Insurance costs. It appears that the government is anti-small companies, preferring workers to be self-employed.

These changes will affect anyone in receipt of dividends: most taxpayers will be paying tax at an extra 7.5% p.a. Although the first £5,000 of any dividend is tax free, in 2016/17:

  • Upper rate taxpayers will pay tax at 38.1% instead of an effective rate of 30.55% in 2015/16
  • Higher rate taxpayers will pay tax at 32.5% instead of an effective rate of 25% in 2015/16
  • Basic rate taxpayers will pay tax at 7.5% instead of 0% in 2015/16

This measure will have a very harsh effect on those who work with spouses in very small family companies. For example, a couple splitting income of £100,000 p.a. could be over £5,000 p.a. worse off.

Businesses should therefore consider these tax issues when using either of these methods to extract funds.

There can be benefits in various family members being involved in the business, particularly if they, for example, perform smaller roles and are not paying taxes at the higher rates. Care is always required here to ensure that any salaries are commensurate with the job performed.

There can also be complexities in giving away shares to spouses to enable them to capture dividends at the lower rates.


How are you incentivising your staff?

Clearly, the retention of key staff is of critical consideration for businesses of any size. With cash flows being restricted in these difficult times, consideration can usually be given to granting share options to employees. Certain tax-approved options schemes (such as Enterprise Management Incentives) are potentially very tax-efficient and a good incentive for key workers.


Are you thinking of an exit?

It is never too early to contemplate what would happen if the business were sold. The headline rate of capital gains tax is not good as it once was but there are potentially reliefs available which may minimise the tax burden on exit. With the right structuring, valuable relief can potentially be opened up to various family members through tax planning.


Tax Planning with pensions

Pensions are all the rage now, given the recent changes.

In certain instances, an appropriate pension plan for a family-owned business can lead to substantial tax efficiencies. Also the use of SIPPs and SASSs can be used a valuable tax planning tool to extract funds from otherwise taxable business profits.


What about the next generation?

Succession planning is a key strategic matter for any family-owned business. Where the business is a trading concern, it is often possible (depending on the particular circumstances) to give away shares without adverse tax consequences.

But care is required here to avoid certain pitfalls that can exist if even a few investment assets are located somewhere within the business.

It may also be the case that a trading business qualifies for inheritance tax relief (under the business property relief regime); therefore, founders may not be worried about inheritance tax now. If the business is sold however, this relief will be lost, potentially generating a significant inheritance tax bill in the future. Fortunately, planning options do exist here, such as transferring the business into a trust before an exit.

Needless to say, the above gives only a taste of some of the relevant tax considerations where family-owned businesses are concerned. The important point is to remember the significant impact that tax can make, and to take advice early and regularly.

Latest news & blogs…

Residential property in a company – beware the ATED tax rules

Family Business Shipleys Tax Advisors

MANY PROPERTY INVESTORS are increasingly using a limited company to hold properties for the perceived tax advantages. However, there are certain tax traps which the investor needs to be wary of in these situations.

One of these is the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (“ATED”) charge. The ATED is an annual tax on certain high-value residential properties that are held within an “envelope”, such as company or a partnership with at least one corporate partner.

The annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) was introduced as part of a package of measures aimed at making it less attractive to hold high-value UK residential property indirectly, i.e. through a company etc, in order to avoid or minimise taxes such as stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on a subsequent disposal of the property.

In today’s Shipleys Tax brief we look into the rates and exemptions you need to know if the ATED tax applies to you and how you can avoid the charge.

The annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) was introduced (to) make it less attractive to hold high-value UK residential property indirectly, i.e. through a company etc, in order to avoid or minimise taxes such as stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on a subsequent disposal of the property.

The Charge

The charge may potentially apply where a property in the UK which is valued at more than £500,000 is owned completely or partly by a company, a partnership with at least one corporate partner or a collective investment scheme (such as a unit trust or an open-ended investment company).

The charge is payable annually in advance. Where a property is within the scope of the ATED on 1 April, an ATED return must be made online by 30 April and the tax for the period from 1 April to the following 31 March must be paid by the same date. The table below shows the rates of ATED that applies for the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

Value of propertyATED (2022/23)
More than £500,000 to up to £1 million£3,800
More than £1 million up to £2 million£7,700
More than £2 million up to £5 million£26,050
More than £5 million up to £10 million£60,900
More than £10 million up to £20 million£122,250
More than £20 million£244,750

Letting exemption

You can avoid the tax charge by claiming an exemption.There are a number of exemptions from the ATED charge. One of these is the letting exemption.

The ATED charge does not apply if the property is let on a commercial basis and is not, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner.

You can avoid the tax charge by claiming an exemption.There are a number of exemptions from the ATED charge.

Provided that this test is met, relief will be available. The relief must be claimed through HMRC’s ATED online forms service. If the claim reduces the ATED charge to nil (which will be the case if all high-value residential properties owned by the company are let on a commercial basis), a Relief Declaration Return needs to be completed.

Once this form is correctly completed and submitted, the property is exempt from paying the ATED charge.

If you are affected by any of the issues above and would like more information, please call 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com.

Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone.

Giving Gifts – is there a tax penalty?

Family Business Shipleys Tax Advisors

THE NATURE OF a gift is that it is something that is given to some without receiving a payment in return. Consequently, as nothing is received in return it would seem unlikely that making a gift could trigger a tax liability.

However, as we will see in today’s Shipleys Tax brief, in some cases making a gift could land you with tax to pay.

Gift issues

Many make the mistake of thinking that gifting isn’t taxable. Whilst gifts are usually given without receiving a payment, strangely that doesn’t exempt gifts from triggering tax liabilities. There are tax rules that apply to gifting in various circumstances which, unfortunately, can give rise to a capital gains tax liabilities.

Market value

The making of a gift is a “disposal” for capital gains tax purposes. As the disposal is not by way of an arm’s length bargain (i.e., the price in a free market), the disposal proceeds are the market value at the time the gift was made, rather than the amount received by the person making the gift (i.e. nothing). From a capital gains tax perspective, unless the gift is to a spouse and the no gain/no loss rules apply or is exempt from capital gains tax, rather than the donor making a loss equal to the cost of the gift, a gain may be realised instead.

There are tax rules that apply to gifting in various circumstances which, unfortunately, can give rise to a capital gains tax liabilities.

Example

Bella has a painting which her niece has always loved. She purchased the painting many years ago for £100. The artist is currently very popular and the painting is now worth £20,000.

On giving the gift to her niece, Bella is treated as if she had disposed of the painting for its market value of £20,000. Consequently, she makes a capital gain of £19,900. Assuming her annual allowance of £12,300 remains available, she must pay capital gains tax on a gain of £6,800!

Gifts to spouses/civil partners

Transfers between spouses are deemed to be at a value that gives rise to neither a gain nor a loss. If instead of giving the painting to her niece, Bella had given it to her husband Akbar, the deemed consideration would be £100 (the value that creates neither a gain nor a loss) and Akbar would be treated as having acquired the painting for £100. In this situation there is no capital gains tax liability on the gift.

Gifts to a charity

Capital gains tax is not payable on a gift to a charity.

Relief for gifts of business assets

The relief for gifts of business assets allows the capital gains tax that might arise on the gift of a business asset to be deferred by ‘rolling over’ the gain so that the recipients base cost is reduced by the deferred gain. However, while this means that there will be no capital gains tax to pay at the time of the gift, the recipient will realise a larger gain when they dispose of the asset. The relief effectively shifts the liability from the donor to the recipient.

Capital gains tax is not payable on a gift to a charity.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that gifting isn’t taxable. In some cases, Capital Gains tax can still apply as we have seen above.

If you are affected by any of the issues above and would like more information, please call 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com.

Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone.

Spring Statement 2022 – Sunak’s Tax Plan

Family Business Shipleys Tax Advisors

The UK Chancellor today delivered his much heralded Spring Statement. At Shipleys Tax we look at some of the brief highlights.

Basic rate of income tax to be cut to 19p by 2024

  • Basic rate of income tax to be cut from 20% to 19% for the tax year ended 5 April 2024 (to be confirmed)
  • The first cut of income tax rates in 16 years

National Insurance threshold to be raised by £3k

  • National Insurance threshold raised by £3,000 for both Primary Class 1 and Class 4 NI
  • This will further align with income tax thresholds, removing an historic anomaly
  • The threshold at which employees and the self-employed will start to pay national insurance contributions will rise from £9,880 to £12,570 a year.
  • The increase will be implemented from July this year (2022)
  • Employers will benefit too, as the Employment Allowance that offsets Secondary Class 1 NI will increase from £4,000 to £5,000. This will also come into effect from April  2022.
  • Most likely to dampen effects of the incoming Health and Social care levy of 1.25%

VAT on energy saving devices to be cut to zero

  • VAT will be cut to zero on energy saving devices
  • This includes thermal insulation and solar panels, and similar items.
  • Fuel duty was also cut by 5p per litre, effective from 6pm on 23 March 2022.
  • This cut will last for one year, subject to any extension.

If you are affected by any of the issues above and would like more information, please call 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com.

Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone.

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