This Content Was Last Updated on November 5, 2015 by Jessica Garbett


A  client query regarding tax on interaction of business and personal tax:

Still don’t understand this. I want to see it only from a personal not Ltd perspective.

I can earn £9,440 and pay no taxes

If I earn more than £9,440 I will have to pay taxes

I can withdraw £32,010 dividend and not pay tax

But £32,010 is more than £9,440

What am I missing?

Our reply:

You can’t look at the two independently.

The £32k dividend is not tax free; it comes out of company profits after tax and has a tax credit on it which covers the basic rate tax you would pay personally.


~ £9k is your personal allowance (you personally, not the company)

~ £32k of personal income over the £9k is taxed at basic rate of 20%

~ Personal income over £41k is then taxed at 40% or over £150k 45%

In the company

~ all profit – which is income less expenses – is taxed at 20%.

~ a salary paid to you counts as a company expense, so if a £9k salary is paid then company gets a tax deduction for it and you pay no tax as its in personal allowance (nb 1)

~ dividends are a payment to shareholders out of taxed profits so carry a tax credit for tax already paid.

~ if dividends fall into the first £41k of your personal income (the £9k + £32k) there is no further tax due. If they fall above that then personal tax is due at 40% (or 45%) less a credit for the 20% paid in the company – so broadly a further 20% is payable personally if slay and dividend is over £41k. (NB2)

NB1 – thresholds for NI are lower, so a £9k salary incurs no tax but some National Insurance.

NB2 – dividends are shown as net cash paid in your business accounts / business records, but are grossed up for personal tax.

Eg Net dividend £28,800 (actual cash paid) becomes £32,000 gross for personal tax purposes, treated as 20% basic rate tax paid. If you are observant you will note the gross up between £28,800 and £32,000 is 10% not 20% – that’s correct, but its still treated as a 20% credit against your personal tax – I know that’s complex, but, alas, I don’t make the rules!