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One of our duties to potential clients is to inform them of possible ways to minimize the tax they pay without compromising their benefits and we believe there are notable tax savings available by otherwise self employed persons trading through a company.

A person need only take an annual tax free salary from their company of between 5876 and 8164, not exceeding their tax free 11500 personal allowance, pay no NIC or income tax thereon, but be entitled to the same basic state pension and other welfare benefits to which a self employed person is entitled.  The balance of monies from the company should be treated as dividends since a basic rate taxpayer pays 7.5% tax on dividends exceeding the 5000 dividend tax free allowance within the basic rate band whereas higher rate taxpayers pay 32.5% tax on dividends exceeding the 5000 dividend tax free allowance falling within the higher rate band above the basic rate band of 33500 (albeit this can be deferred or avoided by treating such money as a loan rather than a dividend). 

Companies pay 19% corporation tax on their annual profits.  

Employee's NIC and employer's NIC at 12% and 13.8%, respectively, both commence on an annual salary above 8164. 

Example1                                                                           

A self employed person with annual profits of 25000 would pay 20% basic rate income tax on profits above their 11500 personal allowance, 9% class 4 NIC on profits above 8164 together with 148.20 class 2 NIC - £4363.44 income tax and NIC [20%(£25000 - £11500) + 9%(25000 - 8164) + 148.20].  

An otherwise identical person as director and shareholder of a company taking the maximum annual salary not subject to NIC of 8164 would pay £3198.84 corporation tax [20%(£25000 - £8164)] and £397.58 income tax on dividends [7.5%(25000 - 8164 salary - 3199 corporation tax - 5000 dividend tax free allowance - 3336 tax free personal allowance)]. 

In this example, trading through a company as its director and shareholder leads to an overall saving of £767.02 and the person is entitled to exactly the same basic state pension and other welfare entitlements to which a self employed person is entitled.  

Example 2 

Alternatively, should an otherwise identical self employed person trade through a company as its shareholder and employee but not its director, employer's NIC is not relevant as the first 3000 employer's NIC is exempt from payment because of the annual 3000 statutory 'employment allowance' available to companies where its director is not its sole employee.  

Therefore, an otherwise identical person as shareholder and employee of a company but not its director taking the maximum annual salary not subject to income tax of 11500 would pay £2965.32 corporation tax and employee's NIC [19%(£25000 - £11500) + 12%(11500 - 8164)] and £445.13 income tax on dividends [7.5%(25000 - 11500 salary - 2565 corporation tax - 5000 dividend tax free allowance)].

In this example, trading through a company as its shareholder and employee but not its director leads to an overall saving of £952.99 and the person is actually entitled to more than the basic state pension and other welfare entitlements to which a self employed person is entitled.

The increased gain of 185.97 being the difference between  £952.99 and £767.02 from example 1 arises from, first, a 633.84 saving in corporation tax at a rate of 19% upon the increase in salary of 3336.  Second, 400.32 employee's NIC arises at a rate of 12% upon the increase in salary of 3336.  Third, the 634 saving in corporation tax represents an increase in dividends which are taxable at a rate of 7.5% resulting in 47.55 income tax.  Combining all the foregoing 3 elements, 633.84 - 400.32 - 47.55,  results in the increased gain of 185.97.  

Example 3

Further and alternatively, an otherwise identical self employed person trades through a company as its shareholder and employee but not its director where the director is also a shareholder.  Assuming the director has otherwise used their 11500 tax free personal allowance but none of their 5000 tax free dividend allowance, 5000 tax free dividends may be paid to the director.  Such a re-allocation of dividends would lead to a further saving of £375 (7.5% x  5000) compared to example 2.

Therefore, in this example, trading through a company as its shareholder and employee but not its director where that director is also a shareholder leads to an overall saving of £1327.99.

We can obtain named companies for £12.

Considering our substantial experience and fees based upon our modest charge rate of 25 per hour pro rata, our fees for producing the accounts of a limited company should not exceed those of producing the accounts of an equivalent unincorporated business. 

HM Revenue do not investigate persons who use this tax saving route because it is above board.  Indeed, in our substantial experience, there is a lower chance of being investigated by HM Revenue by incorporating rather than remaining self employed - none of our clients who have incorporated since the tax advantages of incorporating began in 2000 has been the subject of any tax investigation or enquiry whatsoever.


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