How Much Should I Take as Salary from My Limited Company? A Comprehensive Guide
When you start a limited company, one of the first things you need to decide is how much you should pay yourself as a salary. It’s an important decision that can affect your personal finances, your company’s finances, and your tax bill. But how much should you take as a salary from your limited company?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that the amount you take as a salary will depend on a number of factors. These include your personal financial needs, your company’s financial situation, and the tax implications of different salary levels. You’ll also need to consider the National Insurance (NI) thresholds, as well as the Lower Earnings Limit and the Personal Allowance.
Ultimately, the goal is to find a balance between paying yourself enough to meet your personal financial needs and keeping your tax bill as low as possible. This can be a complex process, and it’s important to seek professional advice to ensure you’re making the right decisions for your specific situation. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key factors to consider when deciding how much to take as a salary from your limited company.
Want to switch to More Than Accountants? You can get an instant quote online by using the form below. In a like for like comparison for services we are up to 70% cheaper than a high street accountant.
Understanding Salary from a Limited Company
As a director and shareholder, you wield the power to set your salary. Yet, with great power comes great responsibility, and it’s crucial to navigate the legalities and tax implications of your compensation (Understanding IR35).
While you’re not an automatic employee, opting for employment status within your company allows you to draw a salary akin to any other staff member. This decision should be informed by:
- Personal financial requirements
- Company’s fiscal health
- Industry compensation benchmarks
- Tax ramifications of your salary level
It’s imperative that your salary is defensible and aligns with your duties. An inflated salary might trigger HMRC’s alarms, suggesting tax avoidance.
For tax efficiency, you might consider a modest salary supplemented by dividends (Tax on dividends). However, dividends are contingent on company profits, so they’re not a guaranteed income stream.
Determining Your Salary
When it comes to determining your salary as a limited company owner, there are several factors to consider. Your salary will not only affect your take-home pay but also your company’s finances and tax obligations. Here are some key factors to consider when determining your salary:
The first factor to consider is your personal allowance. This is the amount of money you can earn before you start paying income tax. For the 2023/24 tax year, the personal allowance is £14,000. It’s important to note that your salary will be subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) above this threshold.
Another factor to consider is the minimum wage. As a limited company owner, you are exempt from the minimum wage requirements. However, it’s important to ensure that your salary is reasonable and reflects the work you do for your company.
It’s always a good idea to seek advice from an accountant when determining your salary. An accountant can help you understand the tax implications of different salary levels and ensure that your salary is in line with industry standards.
Monthly vs Yearly Salary
You can choose to take your salary on a monthly or yearly basis. Taking a monthly salary can help with budgeting and cash flow, while a yearly salary can simplify your tax obligations. It’s important to consider the financial needs of your company and your personal financial goals when deciding on a payment schedule.
In summary, when determining your salary as a limited company owner, it’s important to consider your personal allowance, minimum wage requirements, seek advice from an accountant, and decide on a monthly or yearly payment schedule that aligns with your financial goals.
When deciding how much to take as a salary from your limited company, it’s important to consider the tax implications. As a director of a limited company, you must pay income tax on any salary you receive. The amount of income tax you pay depends on your personal tax situation and the income tax rates for the tax year.
In addition to income tax, your limited company must pay corporation tax on any profits it makes. Therefore, it’s important to find a balance between taking a salary that is tax-efficient for you and your company.
One tax-efficient way to take an income from your limited company is through a combination of a low salary and dividend payments. This is because you do not have to pay National Insurance contributions on dividends, and there is a tax-free dividend allowance each tax year.
It’s important to note that there are tax implications for both you and your company when it comes to paying dividends. As a director, you must ensure that your company has enough profits to pay dividends and that you do not pay more in dividends than your company can afford. Your company must also pay tax on any dividends it pays out, and there is a tax on dividend income over the tax-free dividend allowance.
Overall, when deciding how much to take as a salary from your limited company, it’s important to consider the tax implications for both you and your company. You may want to consult with an accountant or tax professional to ensure that you are taking a tax-efficient approach and complying with all tax filing requirements.
National Insurance Contributions
When you work for a limited company, you are both an employee and an employer. As such, you need to pay National Insurance contributions (NICs) as both an employee and an employer.
The amount of NICs you need to pay as an employee depends on how much you earn and your employment status. The rates for the 2023/24 tax year can be found on the GOV.UK website. The rate for employees earning between the primary threshold and the upper earnings limit is 12%. Employees earning above the upper earnings limit pay 2% NICs on their earnings above this threshold.
As an employer, you also need to pay NICs on your employees’ earnings. Employers pay 13.8% NICs on their employees’ earnings above the secondary threshold.
It’s worth noting that if you choose to take a low salary from your limited company, you may not need to pay NICs. This is because you are exempt from paying NICs if your salary is below the lower earnings limit for the tax year. However, taking a low salary may also mean that you don’t accrue qualifying years towards your state pension.
In summary, as an employee and employer of your limited company, you need to pay National Insurance contributions. The rates for both employee and employer contributions can be found on the GOV.UK website. If you choose to take a low salary, you may not need to pay NICs, but this may affect your state pension entitlement.
As a director of a limited company, you have the option to take income from your company in the form of dividends. Dividends are payments made to shareholders out of the company’s profits.
When deciding whether to pay yourself a dividend, it is important to consider the company’s profits and financial position. It is also important to note that dividends can only be paid if there are sufficient profits available after all expenses and taxes have been paid.
The amount of dividend payments you receive will depend on the number of shares you own in the company. If you own a larger percentage of shares, you will receive a larger proportion of the dividend payments.
It is worth noting that there is a dividend allowance, which is the amount of dividend income you can receive tax-free each year. For the tax year 2023/24, the dividend allowance is £1,000. Beyond the tax-free threshold, dividends are subject to income tax at a lower rate than regular income tax. The tax on dividends over the allowance is subject to your income tax band (basic, higher, or additional rate).
It is important to follow HMRC’s rules on issuing dividends, including keeping accurate records and issuing dividend vouchers to all recipients of the dividend amount. Failure to comply with these rules may result in fines and penalties.
In summary, dividends can be a tax-efficient way to take income from your limited company, but it is important to consider the company’s financial position and follow HMRC’s rules on issuing dividends.
Payroll and Reporting Requirements
As a limited company director, you are responsible for paying yourself a salary and ensuring that you comply with payroll and reporting requirements. This includes registering for PAYE (Pay As You Earn) and submitting Real-Time Information (RTI) to HMRC.
When you pay yourself a salary, you must deduct Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) and report this information to HMRC. You can use payroll software to calculate these deductions and submit them to HMRC each time you pay yourself.
You must also report your payroll information to HMRC in real-time. This means that you must submit your payroll information to HMRC on or before each payday. This is known as Real-Time Information (RTI) reporting. RTI reporting ensures that HMRC has up-to-date information about your payroll and can calculate your tax and NICs liability accurately.
In addition to RTI reporting, you must keep accurate records of your payroll information. This includes details of your salary payments, deductions, and any benefits or expenses that you receive. You must keep these records for at least three years after the end of the tax year.
It is important to ensure that you comply with the RTI rules and keep accurate records of your payroll information. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties and interest charges from HMRC. Therefore, it is important to seek professional advice if you are unsure about your payroll and reporting requirements.
Overall, complying with payroll and reporting requirements may seem daunting, but it is important to ensure that you comply with these rules to avoid penalties and interest charges from HMRC.
Benefits and Allowances
As a director of a limited company, you have the flexibility to decide how much salary you should take. One of the benefits of taking a salary is that you build up qualifying years towards your state pension. This means that the more you earn, the more qualifying years you’ll have towards your state pension. The Lower Earnings Limit for the 2023/24 tax year is £6,516, so if you take a salary above this amount, you’ll be building up qualifying years towards your state pension.
Another benefit of taking a salary is that you can make higher personal pension contributions. This can be a tax-efficient way to save for your retirement, as your contributions are tax-deductible. If you take a salary above the Lower Earnings Limit, you can make personal pension contributions up to the annual allowance.
Taking a salary can also help you retain maternity benefits. If you’re planning to have a child, taking a salary can help you qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). You’ll need to have earned at least £120 per week in the eight weeks before your due date to qualify for SMP.
It can also be easier to apply for things like mortgages and insurance policies such as critical illness cover if you take a salary. Many lenders and insurers prefer to see a regular salary payment as evidence of a stable income.
In addition to salary, you may also be able to claim certain allowances and benefits as a director of a limited company. For example, you may be able to claim a personal accident policy or a critical illness policy as a director. These policies can provide financial support if you’re unable to work due to an accident or illness.
Overall, taking a salary and claiming allowances and benefits can help you build up your retirement savings, qualify for maternity benefits, and provide financial protection in case of an accident or illness. It’s important to speak to a qualified accountant to determine the most tax-efficient way to pay yourself as a director of a limited company.
Expenses and Deductions
When running a limited company, you can claim certain expenses as allowable business expenses. These expenses can be deducted from your company’s profits before calculating how much Corporation Tax you owe. However, not all expenses are allowable, so it’s important to check which expenses you can claim.
Allowable business expenses can include:
- Office costs, such as rent, utility bills, and stationery.
- Travel costs, such as fuel, train tickets, and hotel stays.
- Marketing and advertising costs, such as website design and printing costs.
- Professional fees, such as legal and accountancy fees.
- Equipment costs, such as computers and furniture.
It’s important to keep accurate records of any expenses you claim, including receipts and invoices. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) may ask to see evidence of your expenses, so it’s important to keep these records for at least six years.
In addition to allowable business expenses, you can also deduct certain items from your salary before calculating how much Income Tax and National Insurance you owe. These deductions can include:
- Pension contributions.
- Charitable donations made through the Gift Aid scheme.
- Childcare vouchers.
- Cycle to Work scheme payments.
It’s important to note that not all deductions are available to everyone and there may be limits to how much you can claim for certain deductions. It’s important to check with HMRC or a qualified accountant to ensure you’re claiming the correct deductions.
Overall, claiming allowable business expenses and deductions can help reduce your company’s tax bill and increase your take-home pay. However, it’s important to ensure you’re claiming the correct expenses and deductions and keeping accurate records to avoid any issues with HMRC.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
As a director of a limited company, it is important to understand the consequences of non-compliance with HMRC regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and penalties.
One common area of non-compliance is the late filing of payroll information. If you do not report payroll information on time, you may face penalties. The amount of the penalty will depend on the number of employees you have and how late the information is filed.
Another area of non-compliance is failing to pay the correct amount of tax and National Insurance contributions. HMRC can impose penalties and interest charges if you fail to pay the correct amount of tax and National Insurance contributions on time. The amount of the penalty will depend on the amount of tax and National Insurance contributions owed and how late the payment is made.
It is also important to note that failure to comply with the National Minimum Wage Regulations can result in penalties. If you are an office holder and do not have a contract or receive regular salary payments, you may not be subject to the National Minimum Wage Regulations. However, if there is a contract of employment in place, you must comply with the regulations.
In conclusion, it is important to comply with HMRC regulations to avoid fines and penalties. Late filing of payroll information, failure to pay the correct amount of tax and National Insurance contributions, and non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage Regulations can all result in penalties. Be sure to keep accurate records and file information on time to avoid any issues with HMRC.
Choosing the Right Option for You
Deciding how much salary to take from your limited company can be a daunting task. However, it is essential to get it right to ensure you are not paying more tax than necessary.
As a self-employed individual or sole trader, you may have different options when it comes to taking a salary. However, as a company director, you have the flexibility to choose how much salary to take.
If you are a higher rate taxpayer, taking a low salary and higher dividends could be the most tax-efficient option. This is because dividends are taxed at a lower rate than income tax. However, you should be mindful of the personal allowance and basic rate tax band when deciding how much salary to take.
As a UK taxpayer, you also need to be aware of the National Insurance thresholds. Taking a salary below the Primary Threshold will not attract any National Insurance contributions. However, taking a salary above the Upper Earnings Limit will attract a higher rate of National Insurance contributions.
When deciding how much salary to take, you should also consider the impact on your state pension. Taking a salary above the Lower Earnings Limit will increase your qualifying years towards your state pension.
Ultimately, the right option for you will depend on your individual circumstances. It is essential to seek professional advice to ensure you are making the right decision for your business and personal finances.
In summary, when choosing the right option for you, consider the following:
- Your individual tax rate
- The National Insurance thresholds
- The impact on your state pension
- Seek professional advice to ensure you are making the right decision for your business and personal finances.
Useful Tools and Resources
When it comes to deciding how much salary to take from your limited company, there are several tools and resources available to help you make an informed decision.
Using accounting software can be an effective way to keep track of your finances and ensure that you are taking the right amount of salary from your limited company. Many accounting software solutions offer features that can help you calculate your salary, such as tax and National Insurance contributions. Some popular options include:
Before choosing an accounting software solution, it’s important to consider your specific business needs and budget.
If you have a student loan, it’s important to factor this into your salary calculations. The amount of student loan repayments you need to make will depend on your income and the type of student loan you have. You can use the Student Loan Repayment Calculator to help you work out how much you need to pay.
It’s worth noting that if you have a Plan 1 student loan, you will start making repayments when your income exceeds £19,895 per year, while if you have a Plan 2 student loan, you will start making repayments when your income exceeds £27,295 per year.
National Insurance Thresholds
National Insurance (NI) thresholds are an important consideration when deciding how much salary to take from your limited company. For the 2022/23 tax year, if your salary is above the NI ‘Lower Earnings Limit’ (£6,396) but below the NI ‘Primary Threshold’ (£9,880 per year and £12,570 from July 2022), you don’t pay employee’s NI contributions, but you do retain your State Pension contribution record..
By using these tools and resources, you can make an informed decision about how much salary to take from your limited company. Remember to consider your specific business needs and financial situation before making any decisions.