Last year HMRC carried out a review of rent a room relief and it was proposed that the availability of this generous relief would be restricted to situations where the taxpayer was resident for at least part of the time when the “lodger” was paying rent. The scheme currently exempts from tax gross rents up to £7,500 where rooms within the taxpayers’ main residence are rented out.
HMRC were concerned that the relief was being “abused” by letting out the entire property using websites such as Airbnb and living elsewhere temporarily whilst the tenants were in the property. An example would be renting out a house in south London during Wimbledon fortnight and potentially receiving up to £7,500 tax free.
Note that the Autumn Budget announced that the proposed restriction was not now being introduced.
The Companies Act requires that companies may only pay dividends out of distributable profits. This means that in the absence of brought forward reserves the company would need to provide for 19% corporation tax in order to pay the dividends and thus there would need to be profits of £92,593 in order to pay dividends of £75,000 (after providing corporation tax of £17,593).
Overall the combination of salary and dividends suggested above would result in net of tax take home cash of £93,746 for the couple out of profits before salaries and corporation tax of £117,593 (20.3% overall tax). This still compares very favorably with the amount of tax and NIC payable if the couple were trading as a partnership.
Traditional advice would be to extract any additional profits from the company in the form of dividends. Where dividends fall within the basic rate band (now £37,500) the rate continues to be 7.5% after the £2,000 dividend allowance has been used. Thus where husband and wife are 50:50 shareholders they would each pay £2,663 tax on dividends of £37,500 assuming they have no income other than a £12,500 salary, leaving £34,837 net of tax.
So a combination of £12,500 salary and £37,500 in dividends would result in £46,873 (93.7%) net of income tax and NICs.
The start of the new tax year means that shareholder/ directors may want to review the salary and dividend mix for 2019/20. The £3,000 employment allowance continues to be available to set against the employers national insurance contribution (NIC) liability which means that where the company has not used this allowance it may be set against the employers NIC on directors’ salaries.
Thus, where the only employees are husband and wife there would generally be no PAYE or employers NIC on a salary up to the £12,500 personal allowance.
There would however still be employees NIC at 12% on the excess over £8,632 (£166 per week) which would be £464 on a £12,500 salary, leaving £12,036 net.
Payslips for workers
New rules for payslips took effect on 6 April 2019. There are two main changes. As well as employees you must provide payslips to individuals classed as “workers” for the purposes of employment law, even though they bill you for their services as self-employed individuals.
If an individual’s pay includes an amount based on an hourly rate, their payslip must show the number of hours that equate to the amount being paid. Plus, you must show a total for the pay period for each type of hourly pay, for example, total overtime hours.
“Small” businesses will be outside of the new obligations and services supplied to such organisations will continue to be dealt with under the current IR35 rules with the worker and his or her personal service company effectively self-assessing whether the rules apply to that particular engagement.
The definition of “small” has been widely awaited and the Government have confirmed that it intends to use the existing Companies Act 2006 definition. That is where the business satisfies 2 or more of the following features:
Annual turnover of £10.2 million or less
- Balance Sheet total of £5.1 million or less
- 50 employees or less
The new obligations to determine whether the rules apply, deduct tax and national insurance, and report payments under RTI will apply to the agency or intermediary making payments to the personal service company where the end user is large or medium-sized. There will be an obligation to pass details of the status determination up and down the labour supply chain.
The liability for tax and national insurance will be the responsibility of the entity paying the personal service company, however if HMRC are unable to collect the tax from that entity the liability will pass up the labour supply chain thus encouraging those entities further up the supply chain to carry out due diligence to police compliance.
Advice should be sought to see how the proposed changes are likely to impact on your business.