Not Changing with the Times
Do you simply take what you want from your company and make payments for private purposes and expect your accountant to sort these things out for you when your accounts go in for preparation? If you do then there is an urgent need for you to change.
Legitimate means of withdrawal
Funds need to be taken from a company by one of a number of legitimate means. Each of these has legal or procedural requirements attached to them. If your accountant retrospectively pretends that you had a salary, or that you voted dividends, then this is extremely dangerous. In the opinion of one learned speaker on tax this is nothing short of fraud.
Why is this an issue now?
HMRC have won a significant tax case (PA Consulting v HMRC) in which they have successfully argued that payments to participators that were designated as dividends should be treated as pay subject to PAYE. Following this success it is possible HMRC will use this ruling to attack your company and the way in which you extract money from it.
Why you need to change the way you take money from your company
1. HMRC can assess you to PAYE on the money
You can no longer simply take whatever you like from your company and rely upon your accountant to sort it out. Such action has always been easy for HMRC to attack, but in light of the ruling of the P A Consulting case you would not be able to substantiate that the retrospective attempts to establish minimum salaries and fictitious dividends has any substance. Consequently a reclassification of such payments as salary would cost you significantly in tax.
2. You are missing the opportunity to extract funds tax efficiently
There is a strategy required for taking salary and dividends that you need to be aware of. By carefully planning your withdrawals, and processing your salary and dividends in the right way, you can minimise your tax liabilities and avoid unexpected tax bills that can arise if an accountant’s fix is put into place to correct all your un-planned and un-documented withdrawals.
3. Changes coming for PAYE
New changes are coming for reporting PAYE payments on a monthly basis. This will prevent you from processing salaries retrospectively as fines would be imposed for not doing them correctly. Further, by not processing the salaries using the PAYE scheme, as is done with retrospective salary adjustments, you are losing out on the National Insurance credit that establishes your right to your Retirement Pension.
4. Unsupported withdrawals are illegal
If you are not withdrawing money in the appropriate ways, then the withdrawals are technically illegal. As well as costing you more in tax, you will also find that you could be required to repay them personally should your company go into liquidation.
By taking salary and dividends in a correct manner you can resist claims from HMRC that all the money you extract should be subject to PAYE. Furthermore, if you have an understanding of the optimal extraction strategy each year, then you can plan your withdrawals to minimise your tax liabilities.
Call to Action
This is an issue that your accountant should have discussed with you. If they haven’t, then perhaps you need to consider making a change.
At DEB Chartered Accountants we have always emphasised to our clients the importance of the way in which funds are extracted from their companies. We provide direct assistance to help ensure that fund extraction is processed appropriately. More importantly, we discuss with our clients the precise strategy for them to implement in order to minimise their tax liabilities and ensure that they do not get unexpected tax bills arising as a result of remedial repair work.
Not currently a DEB client?
If you feel that you are not getting proactive advice from your accountant on this and other issues, then please do not hesitate to contact us. As well as providing specific advice to all our clients, we also use our DEB Connect (our bespoke information distribution system) to send regular tax update notifications each month to our clients to ensure that they are fully aware of tax issues that are likely to affect them. We would be more than happy to discuss this with you in our free introductory meeting.