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Salary or bonus?

Newsletter issue - November 2019.

As 31 December approaches, many companies will be getting ready to tie up tax matters for their financial year-end and giving consideration to salaries, bonuses and dividends.

Given current tax rates, paying a dividend rather than a salary will often be a more cost-effective way of withdrawing profits from a company. However, if the company is loss-making and has no retained profits, it will not be possible to declare a dividend, and an alternative will need to be considered. This often involves an increased salary or a one-off bonus payment.

From a tax perspective, the position will be the same whether a salary or bonus is paid. Both types of payment attract income tax at the recipient's relevant rate of tax (20%, 40% or 45% as appropriate). However, from a National Insurance Contributions (NICs) perspective, the position, and any potential cost savings, will depend on whether or not the payment is made to a director.

Directors have an annual earnings period for NIC purposes. Broadly, this means that NICs payable will be the same regardless of whether the payment is made in regular instalments or as a single lump sum bonus. In addition, since there is no upper limit of employer (secondary) NICs, the company's position will be the same regardless of whether the payment is made by way of a salary or a bonus.

Where a bonus or salary payment is to be made to another family member who is not a director, the earnings period rules mean that it may be possible to save employees' NICs by paying a one-off bonus rather than a regular salary.

Example

Jack is the sole director of a company and an equal 50% shareholder with his wife Jill.

In 2019/20 they each receive a salary of £720 per month.

In the year to 31 March 2020, after paying out the salaries, the company has a retained profit of £24,000, which will be shared equally between the two shareholders.

They want to know whether it will be cost-effective to extract the profits as an additional salary - each receiving an additional £1,000 per month for the next twelve months - or as a one-off bonus payment with each receiving £12,000.

The income tax position will be the same regardless of which method is used.

As Jack is a director, his NIC position will be the same regardless of which route is taken as he has an annual earnings period for NIC purposes.

However, as Jill is not a director, the normal earnings period for NIC in a month will be the interval at which her existing salary is paid. Assuming NIC rates and thresholds remain the same in 2020/21, if Jill receives an additional salary of £1,000 a month, she will pay Class 1 NIC of £120 (£1,000 x 12%) a month on that additional salary. Her annual NIC bill on the additional salary of £12,000 will be £1,440. If she receives a lump sum bonus of £12,000 in one month (in addition to her normal monthly salary of £720), she will pay NIC on the bonus of £585 ((£3,450 x 12%) + (£8,550 x 2%)).

Paying a bonus instead of a salary reduces Jill's NIC bill by £855.

Whilst this example highlights that it possible to arrange matters and potentially obtain tax and/or NIC savings, such savings should never be the only consideration in determining company profit extraction strategy.

Addlestone Office

Salary or bonus?

Andrew has been working in accountancy practices since leaving school at 16 and has over 30 years of experience dealing with all aspects of small and medium size businesses, personal and corporate tax issues.

He has been a partner since 1995 and has a wide and varied general practice background.

Andrew has extensive knowledge of many areas of business, accountancy and tax and is able to draw on his experience and knowledge to give clients comprehensive advice on a wide range of matters.


Salary or bonus?

Keith joined Turner Hampton in May 2001, as tax partner. He qualified with a medium sized provincial firm in 1994 before moving to the City to join a top six firm where he specialised in multi-national partnership tax.

He has a wealth of experience in dealing with small owner managed businesses through to larger national organisations and those with interests abroad.

Keith, currently oversees the personal tax and corporation tax compliance and planning strategies of taxation for our clients.


Salary or bonus?

Marc joined the accountancy profession in 2006 and trained with a top 50 firm before qualifying in 2010. Marc joined Turner Hampton in the same year because he was excited about the challenge of taking on a more hands-on role with clients.

Marc’s focus is on helping individuals with their businesses – from sole trades to large corporates – and guiding them through the red tape that often comes with accounting. Marc enjoys helping clients spot opportunities that can contribute to their businesses being successful, and assisting them with the real nitty-gritty, without losing the overview. Marc gets the biggest pleasure from his work when he is able to help clients save money or achieve something they may be striving towards.

Outside of work, Marc enjoys watching and playing all sports, listening to music, going to concerts and eating out.


Salary or bonus?

Vaughn is an ACCA & AAT qualified accountant, Vaughn joined CSL in 2016 and believes his 17 years of experience has allowed him to gain a vast knowledge in dealing with all aspects of small businesses, personal tax and corporate tax issues.

Vaughn is a strong believer in building good client relationships. He feels that by understanding the specific needs of each client, he is able to offer more sound and efficient tax advice.

Outside of work Vaughn is a keen sportsman. If he isn’t enjoying time with his family, he can often be found walking many of Surrey’s local golf course fairways or attending sporting events.


Salary or bonus?

Melanie joined CSL Partnership in April 2017 as a senior accountant. She is ACCA qualified with over 10 years experience working within practice. Melanie works with a wide range of clients and provides advice to owner-managed businesses and personal tax clients on accountancy and taxation matters.


Salary or bonus?

Cindy joined CSL Partnership in 2007. She is an ACA qualified accountant with over 20 years of accountancy experience working within both practice and business.


Salary or bonus?

Colin has worked in the accountancy profession for over 35 years during which he has gained a great deal of experience working on a diverse range of small and medium sized businesses along with sole trades and partnerships.

His areas of expertise lay within accounting, auditing, personal and business tax matters.

He is passionate about the role which small and medium sized businesses play in today’s market and how the accountancy profession can best serve their needs.


Salary or bonus?

Carole has been a bookkeeper and payroll clerk for over 25 years and is qualified by experience. She has recently become involved in the process of auto enrolment for pensions. Over the years she has been self-employed but more recently employed in accountancy practices around the area.


Salary or bonus?

Karen joined the practice in early 2019 as our Administrator/Receptionist and brings 15 years previous experience to the role. She ensures the office runs smoothly and efficiently providing back up and resources to the professional staff allowing them to focus on client matters. Karen is a very cheerful individual and always happy to help. In her spare time Karen enjoys spending time with her family.


Salary or bonus?

Martin joined CSL Partnership in November 2019 returning to practice after spending the previous 8 years working in Industry. He is an AAT qualified accountant and has spent over 20 years working in the profession.

Martin works on all manner of clients from sole traders to large limited companies. He is an avid user of new software and technology to improve how he and clients work together and will always look to find a way to make life simpler for the client so they can focus on running the business rather than stressing over the accounts.


Salary or bonus?

Ian joined Turner Hampton in 2016 and has worked in the accountancy profession for over 30 years.


Woking Office

Salary or bonus?

Emma has worked in accountancy practices for over 20 years and qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 2000. She has gained experience in all aspects of the accounting and auditing functions, developing exposure to a broad range of clients.

Emma advises owner-managed businesses and personal tax clients on accountancy and taxation matters. She has a particular expertise on systems review and implementation.

She has worked for CSL Partnership since it formed in 2001, becoming a director in 2005 and now manages the Woking office.


Salary or bonus?

Philip has worked in various accountancy practices since the age of 19 and joined CSL Partnership in 1998 where he qualified in 2008.

He works with individuals, sole traders and limited company businesses to assist them with all their accounting and taxation requirements.


Salary or bonus?

Andy has worked in accountancy since 2010 and joined CSL Partnership in April 2018. He has experience in a wide range of sectors, and has enjoyed working with individuals, sole traders and limited companies of varying sizes and needs. Outside of the office, you’ll find Andy on a hockey pitch or listening to music.


Salary or bonus?

Lesley joined Turner Hampton in 2003, having previously worked both in accounts departments and in practice. She has been running client payrolls since joining the company and has gained many years of experience in payroll. Lesley now processes all aspects of payroll for both Turner Hampton and CSL Partnership clients.


Salary or bonus?

Gail joined the firm in May 2018 and has worked in accountancy practices as a bookkeeper and payroll clerk since 2013. Historically, Gail has been self-employed and worked for companies in the financial and customer service sectors.

She is a full member of AAT. When not working, she enjoys hiking, mountain biking and yoga.


Salary or bonus?

Marrieclaire is a bookkeeper, she processes payroll and maintains the accounting records to prepare VAT Returns and CIS Returns. Marrieclaire is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant with varied industry experience.


Salary or bonus?

Elaine joined in June 2017. Prior to this she worked in a number of different industries including fast moving consumer goods and mechanical & electrical consultants.

She is a fellow member of AAT having completed the qualification in 1997.


Salary or bonus?

Natasha joined CSL Partnership in October 2019, having worked in accountancy since 2017. Natasha has experience completing payrolls, bookkeeping, VAT returns & CIS returns. She is currently a trainee accountant, looking to become qualified in the coming years.


Salary or bonus?

Wendy joined CSL in April 2019 as a Part-Time receptionist and administrator after 25 years working as an office manager in the design world. She is more than happy meeting and greeting clients and working with such a great team of people in the Woking Office. In her spare time Wendy enjoys tennis, yoga and pilates.


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