A dividend is money that a Limited Company pays to its shareholders. In other words, it is a distribution of a portion of a company's earnings to its shareholders and it can be issued as cash payments, as shares of stocks or other property. Dividends do not change the fundamental value of a company's shares and the payment must be approved by the shareholders and can be structured as a one-time special dividend, or as an ongoing cash flow.
It is very important for a company to comply with the law while deciding on the dividend payout policy and it is advisable to hold a board meeting so that everybody is in agreement of the declaration and it must record the minutes of the meeting for its future reference.
Apart from this, each shareholder should be provided with a dividend voucher, which could be either a paper voucher or an electronic voucher with details:
A dividend tax is a tax imposed on the dividends received by the shareholders or stockholders of a company and it is imposed by the tax authority of a particular country.
Since Limited Companies pay dividends to their shareholders from the company profit, i.e. from the money which is remaining with the company after paying all kind of business expenses, bills and liabilities and all kind of outstanding taxes , if any. Income generated from the same becomes taxable and hence dividend tax comes into picture.
In case you have invested in shares of a company, then there are two ways through which you can earn money. One of the ways is that once your shares grow in value, you can sell them at the existing market rate and make profit. Other way to earn money is to get regular dividends from the total profit of the company. If company is doing well then dividends can be a really useful way of generating a regular income from your investments, but like any other income which you earn, you may have to pay dividend tax on it.
However, the tax rate on the dividends are different and at times more favourable than the tax rate on your other income like salary etc and you also get a tax free dividend allowance which permits you to earn up to a certain amount before dividend tax gets applicable.
Dividend tax that you pay depends on which income tax band you fall in and dividend taxation system was changed on 06th April 2016 under which old system of tax credits was replaced by a system of fixed tax rates depending on the income tax band.
The Dividend Allowance means that you don't need to pay any tax on the first £2,000 of your dividend income, regardless of what non-dividend income you have. Dividends are compensated out of company revenues on which the company has already compensated or is owing to pay Corporation Tax.
Dividend tax rate is applicable on the dividends you receive above the permissible tax free dividend allowance i.e.£2,000 and tax that you pay depends on which tax band bracket you fall in. If your total dividend income is more than £10,000, you must notify HMRC via the annual self-assessment process, or otherwise advise in writing.
Dividend tax thresholds for the 2021/22 tax year: -
|Dividend tax rate||Dividend thresholds|
|Basic Rate||7.5%||£2,000 -£37,700|
|Higher Rate||32.50%||£37,701 - £150,000|
|Additional Rate||38.10%||Above £150,000|
Suppose, you have earned taxable income of £35000 and get £3000 as dividends. You total taxable income is £38000. The dividend allowance is £2000 which means you need to pay tax on £1000 (£2000 - £1000). You pay a tax on rate of 7.5% on £1000 of dividends as your entire taxable income is within the basic tax band.
Dividend tax that you pay depends on your dividend earnings and income tax bracket you fall in. In case, total earning from dividends falls within tax-free dividend allowance, you need not pay anything, irrespective of what non-dividend income you have. However, if it is over and above tax-free dividend allowance, tax on dividend is paid at a rate set by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs on dividend payments received.
Since the dividend tax rate is directly related to your income tax band, it is important to understand how it works. The Standard personal allowance for the year 2021/22 is £12,570 and no tax is applicable on this amount. Income limits for the year 2021/22 is £100,000 and was same for the year 2020/21 as well. If you earn above £100,000 during the tax year, your personal allowance is decreased by £1 for each £2 that you earn above this threshold. So, in case your earning exceeds £25,140, your personal allowance will be completely removed.
For example, Suppose Sandra receives a dividend income of £14000 from shares and £7600 from other sources, calculate how much will be the dividend tax amount?
|Amount in £|
|Income from other sources||7,600|
|Total dividend income (7,600 + 14,000)||21,600|
|Total Dividend Income – Personal allowance (21,600 – 12,570)||9,030|
Since her earnings is well within the basic threshold, she will pay dividend tax at the rate of 7.5% i.e.£7,030 * 7.5% =£527.25 will be tax on her dividend earning. These days, there are various online calculators available for an easy calculation on tax payable on your dividend earning, however it is always better to check with your accountant for a precise calculation.
The most commonly used process is that your tax rate depends on how much income and capital gains you’ve established for any given year.
To confound things further, you’ll start to lose £1 of the personal allowance for every£2 you receive over £100,000.
For Scotland the principle is the same, however the Scottish tax bands and rates are slightly different.
Once you require to pay tax, how much you pay depends on the volume of dividend income you got in the tax year.
Up to £10,000 dividends
Tell HMRC by: -
|Telephone:||0300 200 3300|
|Textphone:||0300 200 3319|
|Outside UK:||+44 135 535 9022|
|Monday to Friday||8am to 8pm|
|Saturday||8am to 4pm|
|Sunday||9am to 5pm|
Over £10,000 dividends
Dividends must be distributed as per the paperwork and it should comply with the law. For a better understanding between the director(s) and the shareholders of a Limited Company, it is advisable to hold a meeting and record it in company's record for future references.
Dividend distribution has to be according to the percentage of the company shares owned by each shareholder, which means that if you own half of the company shares you should get fifty percent of each dividend distribution. For an effective dividend distribution, each shareholder should be provided with a dividend voucher with all required details like name of the shareholders, his contribution in terms of number of shares, his name and address, the amount of tax credit, the net dividend being paid etc.
Detailing down all the important details is a tedious task and hence it is always better to outsource the service of an established accounting firm with years of experience in accounting and taxation domain like dns accountants. With their experienced team of Chartered Accountants and taxation professionals, they have been helping various companies by providing them effective dividend voucher guidance and other queries related to dividend and tax applicable on it.
"This article was correct at the date of publication. It is intended for general purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Independent professional advice should be sought before proceeding with any transaction".
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