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.


What’s New?

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

Changes:

  • 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…

Making Tax Digital to be extended to all companies from April 2022

Family Business Shipleys Tax Advisors

MEASURES REQUIRING businesses to submit and record VAT returns via digital means is to be extended to all companies from April 2022, the government announced this week.

The requirement is part of the government’s much vaunted Making Tax Digital (MTD) strategy which aims to see the end of the annual tax return and transform the tax system. The government say these reforms are “intended to make it easier to pay tax due, enhance resilience, effectiveness, and support for taxpayers”. Shipleys Tax Advisers, like most industry tax experts, are somewhat guarded about these aims.

Currently from April 2019, most VAT-registered taxpayers with a turnover above the VAT threshold have needed to operate Making Tax Digital for their VAT returns, keeping their records digitally and updating HMRC through secure software.

What’s changing?

In their announcement, the government set out the road map for the programme.

From April 2022, MTD will first be extended to all VAT registered businesses with turnover below the VAT threshold to “ensure every VAT-registered business takes the step to move to a digital tax service”.

Then from April 2023, it will be extended apply to businesses and landlords who file self-assessment tax returns for business or property income over £10,000 annually.

The government says this timetable will allow businesses, landlords and agents time to plan, while HMRC will expand its pilot service from April 2021 to allow businesses and landlords to test the full end-to-end service before the requirement to join.

What does this mean for you?

At Shipleys Tax Advisers we take most government announcements with a heavy pinch of salt. The current government has an unenviable track record of making far reaching changes with little thought and trying to do too much too quickly, it is usually the taxpayer and/or their agent/accountant who has to deal with the inevitable fall out (e.g. see the debacle around the introduction of RTI for PAYE, and more recently, the much-maligned original MTD roll-out).

So more admin, more red tape and more people being trapped by the overly complicated UK tax system. Is it all bad news then?

Surprisingly, not quite. At Shipleys Tax Advisers we have noted that, if implemented properly, there are valuable advantages to be gained with the right MTD process.

Efficiency – there is growing evidence that using software for VAT and record keeping does free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.

Flexibility – not all taxpayers will want to be forced online. Those who run very small simple businesses the cost of digitalisation can be off-putting, however the system can be modified to accomodate a non-online solution.

Tax planning opportunities – for the serious business owner, MTD expanding should give agents room for tax planning. At Shipleys Tax Advisers, having an accountant or tax professional review your business performance regularly means avoiding unexpected tax bills and not miss tax planning opportunities.

Going forward

Much like the current pandemic, MTD will not go away anytime soon and as such taxpayers and businesses alike will need to get up to speed quickly.

Those company owners and sole traders currently behind the digital curve will need make plans to implement MTD especially if their bookkeeping is offline as well.

If you need help with MTD implementation or would like to discuss options, please call 0114 272 4984 or email us at info@shipleystax.com.

.

Back to School Fees Tax Planning: Good design or good fortune?

Family Business Shipleys Tax Advisors

IT IS ANECDOTALLY REPORTED that due to COVID-19 lockdown, birth rates are expected to rise. With estimates for children’s education to cost over hundreds of thousands, can setting up a trust for the benefit of children not only help save tax but also assist with education costs?

In this article Shipleys Tax Advisers takes a look at some of the pros and cons of school fees planning and why planning and design is key to achieving the right outcome if you want to avoid an expensive HMRC enquiry.

YOU SHOULD NOT ACT (OR OMIT TO ACT) ON THE BASIS OF THIS ARTICLE WITHOUT SPECIFIC PRIOR ADVICE. SHIPLEYS TAX PLANNING PROVIDES A TAX CONSULTANCY SERVICE AND CAN ADVISE YOU OF THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION.

Bank of (grand)Mum and Dad

Generally, the most common method we come across is the “grandparent solution”. This typically involves adult children (i.e.  the parents) transferring shares to their parents (i.e. the grandparents). This is then transferred to the grandchildren (minors) directly or indirectly held via a type of trust arrangement. The idea being that beneficiaries (e.g. grandchildren) in these circumstances are likely to be minors and are unlikely to have other income, the trust arrangement allows them to use their annual tax-free allowances such as the personal allowance, savings rate allowance and dividend allowance.

The idea being that beneficiaries (e.g. grandchildren) in these circumstances are likely to be minors and are unlikely to have other income, the trust arrangement allows them to use their annual tax-free allowances…

This is a seemingly a perfect solution for grandparents who wish to transfer shares to the grandchildren where the donor is not a basic rate taxpayer or where the donor wishes to reduce the value of their estate for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes.

Sorted, you would have thought.

Well not quite, there are significant pitfalls which need navigating.

Is the income taxed on the minor? 

The major problematic issue is that the income may not be treated as taxable on the minor. This type of planning is not straight forward and requires careful scrutiny of the settlements legislation and to ensure that there are no reciprocal arrangements in place.

Where parents are setting up trusts for their minor children anti-avoidance legislation can tax any income arising on the parents, so this method may not be tax efficient or indeed even work. In other words, there is a significant health warning with this planning which many are unaware of.

Gift of shares 

Where the adult children gift interests in their business to their parents and these are subsequently transferred to the minor/s in quick succession, the transaction will be at a serious risk of a successful HMRC challenge which will result in the income being taxed on the parents. 

Where parents are setting up trusts for their minor children anti-avoidance legislation can tax any income arising on the parents, so this method may not be tax efficient or indeed even work.

If, however,  the transaction can be structured in such a way that the asset is given to the grandparents with no onward obligation/intention that the asset will be transferred to the minors, and if the shares are held for a reasonable period of time (i.e. where the probity of ownership cannot be in issue) and where certain conditions are met, or due to a change of circumstances, the grandparents of their own volition decide to gift the asset to the minors, this should not be subject to a successful challenge by HMRC.  So, in reality it’s all a question of intention and timing. Get this right along with the surrounding facts and circumstances, then the prospect of having a successful fees planning increases.

Sale of shares

Where the grandparents acquire an interest in the parents’ business for full market value for/on behalf of the grandchildren, the anti-avoidance provisions do not apply. However, one will need to be mindful that the open market is actually paid and there are no reciprocal arrangements in place.  The cost of this may be prohibitive due to the costs of asset, valuation and other professional fees.

If, however,  the transaction can be structured in such a way that the asset is given to the grandparents with no onward obligation/intention that the asset will be transferred to the minors…

…this should not be subject to a successful challenge by HMRC.

COVID-19 Gifting income producing assets – a timely opportunity?

The grandparents could gift/acquire an income producing asset for the benefit of the minors and hold these on trust. This would typically be a bare trust – as opposed to a substantive trust mainly due to compliance and costs. However, this comes with a significant risk as minors (as beneficiaries) will have absolute entitlement and control of the business at the tender age of 18. The parent/grandparent may not wish for the minor to control these assets at such a young age.

It is said that a discretionary trust or an interest in possession trust may therefore be a more appropriate solution here due to its flexibility and control, and, unlike a bare trust, beneficiaries are not entitled to the assets of the trust upon attaining 18 years.

However, the tax anti-avoidance provisions apply here also. If the parents set up the trust with the intention to fund school fees, then a discretionary trust may not be a tax efficient option.

As such if income producing assets, for example stocks, shares or investment property, can be gifted/acquired by the grandparents for the benefit of minors, the income would be taxable on the minors and could go towards paying for their private school fees.  

if income producing assets… can be gifted/acquired by the grandparents for the benefit of minors, the income would be taxable on the minors and could go towards paying for their private school fees.

With COVID-19, the valuations of income producing assets may be at a value which allows gifting without significant capital gains tax consequences, perhaps a timely opportunity? 

HMRC Radar 

We have been told that a small minority of school fee planners have aggressive timeframes in implementing school fees planning. Currently this appears to fall under HMRC radar as it is not straight forward for HMRC to connect the dots with this planning. However, this does not mean this will continue forever – with the burgeoning big data revolution HMRC as poised to invest in IT systems to enable them to fill the gaps much quicker than they are now.

As such, school fees planning should be based on sound principle and careful thought; a matter of good design not a matter of good fortune.

YOU SHOULD NOT ACT (OR OMIT TO ACT) ON THE BASIS OF THIS ARTICLE WITHOUT SPECIFIC PRIOR ADVICE. SHIPLEYS TAX PLANNING PROVIDES A TAX CONSULTANCY SERVICE AND CAN ADVISE YOU OF THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION.

If you are interested in School Fees Tax planning, please call us on 0114 272 4984 or email us at info@shipleystax.com.

VAT AND STAMP DUTY CUTS ANNOUNCED TODAY

Family Business Shipleys Tax Advisors

IN A SEEMINGLY DESPERATE BID, the UK Chancellor gave his Summer economic update today in Parliament to revive jobs and the boost the ailing economy following the outbreak of COVID-19 Coronavirus. 

Along with a Stamp Duty holiday (£125k to £500k), a 15% VAT reduction for the catering/leisure industry he announced new job scheme subsidies for young unemployed workers. Here at Shipleys Tax Advisers we outline some of the plans below.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

  • The current residential SDLT threshold of £125,000 will rise to £500,000.
  • This will apply from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021.
  • First-time buyers qualify for relief, whereby they pay less, or no tax, if the purchase price is £500,000 or less.
  • Applies only to property purchased in England and Northern Ireland.

VAT: Temporary VAT cuts

The rate of VAT on food, accommodation, entry fees etc is cut from 20% to 5% for the next six months.

VAT on food and non-alcoholic drinks

  • From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, to support businesses and jobs in the hospitality sector.
  • The reduced (5%) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises across the UK.
  • Further guidance on the scope of this relief will be published by HMRC in the coming days.

VAT on accommodation and attractions

  • From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, to support businesses and jobs.
  • The reduced (5%) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK.
  • Further guidance on the scope of this relief will be published by HMRC in the coming days.

New Jobs Retention Bonus

  • A new bonus of £1,000 will be paid to employers for bringing back and retaining furloughed employees until January 2021.
  • Employees must be paid at least £520 per month.

Job Retention Scheme (JRS)

  • The Employee Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is due to wind down and it will end in October 2020. The Chancellor has said “It is a false hope to keep furloughing open forever”. 

Kickstart scheme

  • The Kickstart scheme will pay employers who take 16 to 24-year-olds for a minimum of 25 hours per week at the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
  • The grant will pay the wages or around up to £6,000 for the first six months.
  • No cap on the number of places available.

Training places

  • Pay employers £1,000 to take on new trainees.
  • Apprentices: pay employers to create new apprenticeships, £2,000 per place.
  • £1,500 payment for taking on apprentices aged over 25 years old.

Eat Out to Help Out

  • The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme aims to encourage people to return to eating out.
  • Every diner will be entitled to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or other eligible food service establishments.
  • The discount can be used unlimited times and will be valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal (including non-alcoholic drinks) for the entire month of August 2020 across the UK.
  • Reclaimed by the business which must apply to participate.

If you need help with the issues above, please call Shipleys Tax Planning on 0114 272 4984 or email info@shipleystax.com – we are ready to assist.

Load More Posts

Testimonials

Contact Us

  • info@shipleystax.com
  • 0114 275 6292
  • Wharf House, Victoria Quays,
    Wharf Street Sheffield,
    S2 5SY

Contact Shipleys Today

Want to know how Shipleys can help you with practical tax planning through innovative ideas? Let’s talk. Call or email us directly and a member of our team will be in touch within 48 hours.

Contact us