Tax implications when starting a business

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Date: 7 May 2021

2021 and Coins stack. SAlary or dividend concept.

Launching your own business often means throwing aside the safety net of structured employment for the liberating sensation of founding and growing your own business.

The exhilaration and independence that comes from starting your own business brings with it a raft of new responsibilities. Chief among them is tax.

Navigating the tax implications of starting a business can be confusing and time consuming, particularly when you want to devote your money and resources o growing your new enterprise.

It's advisable for entrepreneurs and the self-employed to seek professional help with their tax returns - especially those in the gig economy, landlords, investors, those earning over £100k.

Submitting a tax return can be a confusing and tedious task. Using the services of a professional alongside accounting tech will relieve you of much of the repetitive, admin-heavy tasks and will save you time and money.

Do you need to submit a Self Assessment tax return?

One of the first challenges most business founders face is knowing when they actually need to complete a tax return (also referred to as Self Assessment). This is particularly true if a person has previously been used to paying tax at source via PAYE ("Pay As You Earn").

If you have recently become self-employed, you will need to submit a Self Assessment tax return if you have earned more than £1,000 in the tax year. This is especially relevant for people that have just started their own small businesses or taken on freelance work.

You'll also need to complete Self Assessment if you have earned over £100,000 in the tax year, even if you have paid tax via PAYE, or if you are part of a Partnership.

Paying tax on dividends

Many company owners and founders will receive money in the form of dividends (money you might receive if you own shares in a profitable limited company). Only limited companies can pay dividends, and that's only from any profit left at the end of the tax year (after paying corporation tax).

Basically, this means you can pay yourself in three ways if you're running your own limited company: salary, dividends - or a combination of both.

The difference in the actual tax payable isn't huge but it's worth considering.

Let's say your business makes £100,000 a year in revenue.

If you pay all that as salary (remember that you'll also need to pay both employer and employee National Insurance), you will end up with about £60,400. If you pay yourself dividends (after paying 19% as corporation tax), you end up with a bit over £68,300.

How do you actually pay this?

The first £2,000 of dividend earnings is tax free. So, if you paid yourself £2,000 or less through dividends, you don't need to file a Self Assessment.

If you received between £2,000 and £10,000, you can file a Self Assessment. However, HMRC can also take tax on dividends below £10,000 via your salary. It's worth getting in touch with HMRC and checking your tax code before you register for Self Assessment.

Once you're registered for Self Assessment, you need to file one every year unless you specifically de-register. You will be fined otherwise.

If you earned over £10,000 in dividends during the tax year you will definitely need to submit a Self Assessment tax return, and professional help from TaxScouts can help.

Tax for investors

If you or your investors have invested money into a business via the SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) or the EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) then you need to file a Self Assessment to claim the juicy relief that's available (up to 50% for SEIS).

These tax reliefs are high because the government wants to stimulate investment in start-ups and new companies. Investors can receive up to 50% relief on Income Tax and 100% relief on Capital Gains.

However, claiming these reliefs is not very straightforward, so if you're confused about how it works, TaxScouts can help.

Copyright 2021. Article was made possible by site supporter TaxScouts.

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