when can I take dividends from my UK company

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What should UK contractors consider with regard to when can I take dividends from my company? In addition, what should they think about in connection with how to take dividends from a limited company? Basically, when you are taking dividends from your company, there’s plenty to consider in terms of how do dividends work (UK). What’s more, if we think about UK limited company contractor dividends or salary, when should you actually pay yourself? Further still, if we consider limited company dividends vs salary (UK), you will likely take your income as a combination of salary and dividends (limited company).

While you do your UK contracting work from day to day, you’ll be kept very busy. However, many limited company contractors will sometimes wonder about how often can I take dividends from my UK company. Dividend payments are disbursements to shareholders from company profits. Therefore, many UK contractors will think about when’s the right time to pay these. In addition, many will ask how often UK dividends can be paid. Basically, there’s no correct answer in respect of how often are dividends paid (UK). Indeed, when you consider how often can I take dividends from my company (UK), many will choose to take these each month, quarterly or every six months.

In this article, we’ll look into when you can take UK dividends/disbursements from your business. Furthermore, we’ll also consider what else to think about as part of being an owner of a limited company paying dividends.

Initial thoughts

First thoughts around when can I take director dividends from my company

As a UK contractor professional, how often and when can I take dividends from my contracting company? If you consider when can you take dividends, the time when you make these payments depends on your current finances. In addition, it also depends on your planned income levels. Therefore, let us now investigate how often can I take dividends from my company (UK) and what we should consider here.

Common questions 

As a UK limited company owner, you may have questions around when you can take company disbursements. This is common amongst contractors and other limited company owners and such questions and thoughts include:

  • How to pay yourself dividends?
  • What are company dividends?
  • How do dividends work in a limited company?
  • When can you pay dividends?
  • How much dividends can I pay myself?
  • When to take dividends?
  • How often can you take dividends?
  • How much can I take in dividends?
  • When can a company pay a dividend?
  • How many dividends can you take a year?

Other articles

Before moving on, as a limited company contractor or business owner you should consider several aspects before pay a dividend disbursement. Besides, knowing how to pay yourself in dividends, these include:

  • When can you pay yourself dividends (this article)?
  • When UK contractor limited company dividends are illegal. We look here at what to do when you paying yourself dividends from a ltd company and have taken too much disbursements.

Secondary considerations 

When can I take dividends as a UK contractor?

Let’s now take a look at when can you take dividends. As part of this, we need to consider a couple of things. Your business can make a disbursement at a particular time in the tax year, which can help reduce your personal tax. However, when can you take dividends as a limited company contractor, it will depend on your overall taxable income in the current tax year.

As part of considering when can I take dividends from my UK company, you can also be confused about when a disbursement will be taxable. The answer here is the disbursement is taxable when it is `declared as being payable.’ Therefore, you can draw a dividend declaration showing the date the disbursement is payable.

Dividend declaration

The dividend declaration can be drawn up in a form called a dividend voucher (UK). The date of this voucher is the date when the payment is taxable. In addition, you can also hold a directors’ meeting or board meeting and draw up some board meeting minutes. These minutes will approve the disbursement.

What to bear in mind when you take a disbursement

In general, when we consider how often can I take dividends from my company (UK), the answer is you can do this any time you want. However, you need to:

  • Ensure there is enough profit in your company to do this.
  • Bear in mind how making the disbursement may affect your personal tax position.

Other thoughts when you make dividend payments from your company

When can I take dividends from my company -make a disbursement at end of tax year

It may be towards the end of a tax year, and you have decided that you do not want to make an extra disbursement. However, you may still have part of your tax allowances or basic rate tax band available. You can choose to declare a dividend payable straight away. Alternatively, you can also draw the cash from your business later, when you so desire.

It is best practice to ensure you use your tax allowances in the current tax year. It is also more tax efficient to do this rather than taking more in a future year. This is because in a future year your income may be taxable at a higher rate of tax.

Make sure there is enough profit to make the payment 

It is key that a UK contractor limited company which makes disbursements has enough post-tax company profits before it pays the disbursement. The post-tax profit will include the profit for the current year. The profit is calculated by taking sales generated and deducting each business expense along with any liabilities for costs and this equates to pre-tax profit. We deduct the Corporation Tax from the pre-tax profit, which gives the post-tax profit. We also need to add on any retained profit from the previous financial period.

Please see how much you can draw as dividend income, as this article explains how you can work this out.

The annual dividend allowance 

The dividend system was changed on 6 April 2016. Each taxpayer now has an annual allowance, which is currently £2,000 in 2022/23. However, this is reducing to £1,000 in 2023/24 and £500 in 2024/25. Therefore, if you have enough funds in your business, you should make sure that you pay at least £1,000 in 2023/24 to use up your dividend allowance.

However, that the allowance falls inside the income level taxpayers are taxable on under basic rate tax. In 2022/23 and 2023/24, this is on gross annual income up to £50,270.

Tax bands, rates and further considerations

When can I take dividends from my company -company dividend tax

Let’s now consider what tax on limited company dividends you pay. Basically, the amount of tax you’ll pay depends on your other taxable income in the same tax year. However, it is key to note that income tax and national insurance contributions are payable on salaries. On the other hand, only tax is payable on disbursement income.

Dividend income is treated as the top slice of your income in a tax context. To explain, these are taxable after all other sources of income. Such other sources will include employment income, rental profits, pension income, self-employment income, etc.

The UK tax bands and tax rates

The rates of tax that apply in 2022/23 and 2023/24 are:

Income tax band Thresholds 2022/23 Thresholds 2023/24 Dividend tax rate
Personal allowance 0-12,570 0-12,570 0%
Basic rate taxpayers 12,571 – 50,270 12,571 – 50,270 8.75%
Higher rate taxpayers 50,27 1- 150,000 50,27 1- 125,140 33.75%
Additional rate taxpayers 150,000 upwards 125,141 upwards 39.35%

Further considerations

As part of the above, please bear in mind the following:

  • The £12,570 shown above is your personal allowance.
  • However, please remember that you will also have your annual dividend allowance of £2,000 in 2022/23 and £1,000 In 2023/24.
  • Therefore, if you had no other taxable income, you could earn £12,570 + £2,000 – £14,570 in UK company dividends before you pay tax in 2022/23. In 2023/24 this will be £12,570 + £1000 = £13,570.
  • In all likelihood, though, you will probably have other income. This will probably be a salary; therefore, this will use up some, if not all, of your personal allowance.
  • Therefore, paying yourself dividends of £2,000 or £1,000 tax-free, you might have some other tax-free dividends if you have any personal allowance left.
  • The rest of your disbursements up to the higher rates tax level of £50,270 will be taxed at the basic rate of 8.75%.
  • In terms of paying your tax on limited company dividends over to HM Revenue & Customs, you will do this via your Self-Assessment tax return once per year.

Final thoughts 

There are certain factors to consider for UK contractors, when it comes to thinking about when can I take dividends and how often can I take dividends from my UK company. Basically, you will need to consider what your current level of personal income is in the current tax year. In addition, you will need to evaluate if your company has enough funds to pay the proposed distribution.

It is best practice for a company to pay a UK contractor’s dividends and salary payments separately from the company bank account. When you do this, it is evident in your business records and accounting system what any payments are in relation to.

If you combine the payments, this could present questions from HMRC later on. Therefore, it is best practice in your accounting records to show clearly which payments are for UK contractor dividends and salary. This may then save you from having to answer unnecessary questions from HMRC at a later date.

Link to Contractor Advice UK group on LinkedIn


Published On: April 6th, 2023 / Categories: Contractor Tips, Dividends /

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