Changes to dividend tax and contractors

Changes to Dividend tax

Changes to Dividend tax came into effect on the 6th April 2016 and again on the 6th April 2018. The effect is those paying themselves dividends and a small salary are likely to have to pay more tax. Payable via their self-assessment as well as have to make payments on account.

The Changes to dividend tax

From 6th April 2016, you can pay yourself a tax-free dividend of £5,000 anything above this amount you will pay additional tax. If you are a 20% tax payer you will pay an additional 7.5% tax on your dividends above £5,000. Below is a worked example of someone who pays themselves a minimum salary and a dividend up to the 20% tax band.

2016-17 onwards££ tax payable
Salary 8,0600
Dividend (within Personal Allowance2,9400
Dividends within Dividend Allowance5,0000
Dividend at basic rate band27,0002,025

The above illustrates that the 6th April 2016 changes to dividend tax mean an additional tax payment of £2,025 at the lower rate tax band. This tax will be payable via the self-assessment route. From 6th April 2018, there are further changes to dividend tax. The dividend tax-free allowance is reduced to £2,000 from £5,000. Resulting in an extra £225 in tax payable.

Changes to dividend tax and payments on accountChanges to dividend tax and contractors

If you have to pay more than £1,000 in tax each year you will have to make payments on account. This means that you pay 50% of next years tax in advance. In the illustration above the tax due for 2006-17 is £2,025 and payable by 31st January 2018. Assuming that you have not made payments on account for 2015-16, your payments to HMRC will be:-


Tax for 2016-17                                                                            £2,025

Plus 50% in advance (£2,025 x 50%)                                     £1,012.50

Payable by 31st January 2018                                        £3,037.50


50% payable on 31st July 2018                                      £1,012.50


In effect, you are paying £2,025 for your 2017-18 tax bill in advance. HMRC makes adjustments once your 2017-18 return is submitted.

Although you pay more tax on dividends it’s still better than being employed as you don’t have to pay any national insurance on dividends. These tax changes potentially impact all company shareholders.

Finance Equation Ltd are award winning Chartered Certified Accountants. Contact us via email or call 020 3086 7472 to see how we can make a difference to your business.

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