An easy way to reduce a business’s tax bill – and also increase the amount of funds withdrawn from the business – is to put a family member on the payroll. Of course, the salary must be for genuine work, with any tax saving dependent on the overall tax position.
Such salary arrangements are most beneficial if they are in place from the start of a tax year, so right now is a good time to be looking at 2022/23.
When does this work?
Paying a salary to a spouse, partner or child at university makes sense if the recipient is not using their personal allowance. A tax-free salary can be paid, with the business or company receiving a corresponding deduction in calculating their trading profit. For a sole trader, the saving could be as high as 63.25% if caught in the personal allowance tax trap.
However, there will also be a saving if the recipient is using their personal allowance but has a lower marginal tax rate than their self-employed spouse, partner or parent. With a company, there is currently no advantage to taking a salary in this situation, but there will be from April 2023 when higher corporate tax rates come into effect.
One important point to remember is that the salary must actually be paid out for the work, so it should be payrolled and transferred into the family member’s personal bank account.
How much to pay?
There are two main restrictions:
HMRC’s approach to allowing a deduction for salary paid to dependents and close relatives can be found here.