News added on 18.08.2015



Clarification issued on new dividend tax

Following the announcement in the Summer Budget of a major change to the taxation of dividends, HMRC has now published a factsheet which clarifies the rules. How will they work?

Changes to taxation of dividends. In the Summer Budget the Chancellor dropped a bombshell for owner managers of smaller companies by stating that, from April 2016, only the first £5,000 of dividends received in a tax year would be tax free (the dividend allowance). Dividends over the allowance will be taxed at 7.5% in the basic rate band, 32.5% in the higher rate band and 38.1% in the additional rate band. However, it was unclear how the £5,000 dividend allowance would interact with the different tax bands.

Dividend allowance factsheet. Thankfully, after more than a month of confusion, HMRC has published a dividend allowance factsheet. This provides some useful examples of how dividends will be taxed in 2016/17. It also explains that the dividend allowance will still count towards the basic or higher rate bands rather than being an extra £5,000 basic rate band for dividends.

Example. In 2016/17 a director shareholder receives a salary from his company of £8,000 a year and dividends of £38,000. His taxable income for the year after taking into account the £11,000 personal allowance is £35,000. As the basic rate band for 2016/17 is £32,000, he will pay tax at 0% on the first £5,000, then 7.5% on the next £27,000 and 32.5% on the remaining £3,000. So the total tax due will be £3,000. Under the old rules he would have paid no tax on the basic rate band dividends (so he's losing out by £2,025 under the new rules) and only paid tax of £750 (£3,000 x 25%) on the higher rate dividends (so he's losing out by a further £225).

The new dividend allowance is not an extra £5,000 basic rate band for dividends and will count as part of the basic or higher rate bands. This means that basic rate taxpayers will be up to £2,025 worse off under the new rules.

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