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The current hot topic

New rules for taxing dividends

Dividend taxation is changing, and from 6 April 2016:

  • The 10% dividend tax credit is abolished, so the cash dividend received will be the gross amount potentially subject to tax.
  • New rates of tax on dividend income will be introduced (see the table below).
  • A new Dividend Tax Allowance will remove the first £5,000 of dividends received in a tax year from taxation.

The table below shows a comparison between the current and new tax rates.

Dividend falls into: Basic rate band Higher rate band Additional rate band
Effective dividend tax rate now 0% * 25% * 30.6%*
Rate from 6 April 2016 7.5% 32.5% 38.1%

*These rates include the 10% tax credit.

There are 'winners' and 'losers' under the new rules.

Winner
A higher rate taxpayer who has dividend income of £5,000. Tax liability currently £1,250 (25% of £5,000). Next year's liability - nil.
Loser
The sole shareholder of a company who takes a small salary and then dividends up to the threshold at which higher rate tax is payable. Currently no tax due. Next year only £5,000 of the dividend will not be taxable.

Those individuals who extract profits from their company as dividends may need to consider whether to increase dividend payments before this date. Where an individual does not currently extract all the company profits as a dividend they may wish to consider increasing dividends before the 6 April 2016.

However, an individual's overall tax position needs to be considered as well as other non-tax issues such as the availability of funds or profits in the company to pay the dividend.

Please do contact us if you would like any further guidance on this issue and what the new rules will mean for you.