Paying Tax on Dividends in 2023/24

Jun 25, 2023

Updated on: Jan 16, 2024

Here we look at the tax impact of taking dividends in the 2023/24 tax year. While the dividend allowance has been reduced, the tax rates and income bands are largely unchanged, and there are still ways you can receive dividends in a tax-efficient manner. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the changes in dividend allowance, how it affects your tax payments, and various strategies you can implement to minimize the impact on your tax bill when it comes to paying tax on dividends in 2023-24.

For our limited company contractor clients paying dividends forms an important part of extracting funds from their business, so tax information on dividends is always highly sought after. Note this article follows on from our Paying tax on dividends in 2022/23 blog post.

By understanding the rules and regulations surrounding dividend payments and exploring tax-efficient strategies, you can continue to optimise your overall tax position without any unexpected tax bills. Let’s dive in and learn how to make the most of your dividends in 2023/24.

This article is also available on our YouTube channel at Paying Tax on Dividends in 2023/24.

Understanding Dividends in 2023/24

A woman looking at her income tax statement, showing the amount of dividend income she has received.

Dividends are a way for companies to reward their shareholders for their investment. In the case our our contractor clients paying dividends is a key method of extracting funds from their business. Dividends are a tax-efficient method to receive income, as they are exempt from national insurance and are included in the Personal Allowance. But, as with most things related to income, they are subject to income tax rates.

For the 2023/24 tax year, the tax-free dividend allowance has been reduced to £1,000. This means that you won’t have to pay tax or inform HMRC if your dividends are within this allowance. However, the reduction in the dividend allowance could lead to higher tax payments for some individuals, as more of your dividend income will be subject to taxation.

So, what does this mean for investors? With the reduced dividend allowance, the tax-free allowances available against dividends are the income tax personal allowance, and the separate dividend allowance. While this change has a small negative impact on our contractor clients, for those clients you have a spouse as a shareholder are also impacted by this, especially if the spouse already earns a taxable income in excess of the personal allowance.

Eligibility for Receiving Dividend Payments

A woman looking at her dividend payment statement, showing the amount of dividend income she has received before reading our Paying Tax on Dividends article

Shareholders are eligible to receive dividend payments and may need to pay income tax on them. Companies can choose to pay dividends at various intervals, and while you may hear of public companies paying dividends quarterly or annually, our limited company contactor can make dividend payments to themselves whenever they like.

There is no limit to the size of the dividend payments that your company makes to you, and depending on your share structure you may be able to pay different amounts to different shareholders, however it is absolutely critical to understand that dividends can only be paid from company profits. We consider retained earnings as the benchmark, and on the dashboard page of the Simplifi accounting software that all our clients use, you can clearly see your business retained earnings. If you have no retained earnings you cannot pay any dividends.

So, before you pay yourself any dividends ensure that your company has sufficient retained earnings, and we also recommend that you leave additional funds behind in your business to ensure a smooth cashflow and can afford other things such as buying new computer equipment or investing in training.

Dividend Allowance Changes for 2023/24

The dividend allowance for the 2023/24 tax year is being cut in half to £1,000, which means you may need to pay tax on a larger portion of your dividends. This new dividend allowance is lower than the tax-free allowance that was available for dividends in the previous tax year, 2022/23.

This isn’t the first time the dividend allowance has been cut. Since the 2017/18 tax year, the dividend allowance has been reduced twice, from £5,000 to the current £1,000. This change will affect investors and business owners alike, as the lower dividend allowance could result in higher tax payments for some individuals.

Calculating Dividend Tax Based on Income

A man looking at his income tax statement, showing the amount of dividend tax he has to pay.

Dividend tax is calculated according to an individual’s total income and tax band. For the 2023/24 tax year, dividend tax rates can range from 0% up to 39.35%, which depends on your marginal rate of dividend tax, which in turn is linked to your income tax band.

It’s essential to understand how your total taxable income, including dividends, affects your tax liability. One key aspect of this is when looking at your overall income (to determines your tax band), your dividend income always sits on top of all other forms of income. So, if for example your income is made up of salary, dividends, bank interest, and rental income, then your dividend income will also face the highest tax bands since it is always the last form of income to be used in the tax calculation.

Just quickly, you will see that I left capital gains off the example forms of income above. An example of a capital gains might be selling some shares or crypto at a profit. Capital gains are taxed differently to income and each year you get a capital gains tax allowance that allow for some of your gains to be tax free.

In a previous blog we covered the income tax and national insurance contributions rates for 2023/24. Lets use those figures now and do an example calculation.

Let’s say Jamie works through his own limited company, and for the 2023/24 tax year he plans to receive the following income, (a) salary of £9,096 (b) dividends of £42,000 (c) rental income (profit) of £12,000, (d) a profit of £5,000 from selling his Tesla shares. How much tax will he pay?

Firstly, lets address the capital gain (profit) from Jamie selling his Tesla shares. For the 2023/24 tax year the annual exempt amount for capital gains tax is £6,000. Because his gain is below the threshold he does not need to report this in his personal tax return.

Now lets look at the rest of his income. Total income from all sources is 9,096 + 42,000 + 12,000 = £63,096. Lets put that into out tax table to see what the total dividend income tax will be. Note here we’re only looking at tax on dividends. Some of the income from his salary/rental property will also be taxed, but we’ll ignore that here.

Annual income bandsIncome typeIncome taxedTax rateTax due
Personal allowanceUp to 12,570Salary9,0960%0
Personal allowanceUp to 12,570Rental income3,4740%0
Basic rateOver 12,570 to 50,270Rental income8,52620%1,705
Basic rateOver 12,570 to 50,270Dividend income (PA)1,0000%0
Basic rateOver 12,570 to 50,270Dividend income28,1748.75%2,465
Higher rateOver 50,270 to 125,140Dividend income12,82633.75%4,329
Income tax (from Dividends)6,794
Income tax (from Property)1,705

So, you can see from the tax calculation above that a payment of £42,000 in dividends in the 2023/24 tax year when factoring in the other forms of income will create a tax liability of £6,794.01 for the dividends and £1,705.20 for the property income.

Strategies for Tax-Efficient Dividend Payments

The payment of a small salary and then dividends from your limited company is the cornerstone tax planning strategy for contractors. While you are tax resident in the UK there is no scope to further reduce the tax you pay on your dividends.

There are however various tax-efficient strategies that contractors can explore to minimize the tax impact of taking dividends from their company. Some of these strategies include the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).

Its important to note here that while these sorts of investments decrease your overall tax liability by offering tax relief, they also require that you invest your personal cash into these schemes.

EIS and SEIS are government schemes to provide venture capital to early-stage startups. They offer generous tax advantages, encouraging private investment into these businesses. Dividends earned within the account are tax-free, offering a significant benefit. VCTs are investment schemes that offer tax advantages in the UK. Their purpose is to encourage investment in small and growing businesses.

For example, if you decided to invest £10,000 into an EIS scheme, you would get tax relief of £3,000. So in the scenario above, Jamie could draw a further £10,000 dividends from his business, which would effectively be free of tax (the tax relief he would get would almost 100% be offset the tax bill created from taking more dividends).

If Jamie were to invest £10,000 into an SEIS scheme his tax relief would be even greater, at £5,000.

Paying Dividend Tax: Self Assessment Submission

An image showing a tax form with the title 'Self Assessment Submission' and a highlighted section indicating the process for paying tax on dividends in 2023/24.

Dividend tax is paid through the self-assessment submission process. The deadline for the submission of your self-assessment personal tax return is 31 January after the tax year end. Any tax due must also be paid by this date. Staying informed about changes in dividend tax rules and seeking professional assistance if needed is essential to ensure you remain compliant and avoid potential penalties.

If you need help understanding the new dividend tax rates from April 2023, ord would like to understand some scenarios feel free to contact No Worries Accounting. We can not only assist with tax planning, but we also help with the preparation and submission of your self-assessment tax returns to HMRC.

Remember, there are various tax-efficient strategies and investment options available to help you minimize your tax liability in light of the reduced dividend allowance for the 2023/24 tax year, and you will find that a bit of early tax planning can really pay off.

Summary

Despite the reduced dividend allowance for the 2023/24 tax year, there are still tax-efficient strategies and investment options available to help minimize your tax liability. By understanding the rules surrounding dividend payments, staying informed about changes in dividend tax rates, and exploring tax-efficient strategies such as EIS, SEIS, and VCTs, you can continue to optimise your overall tax position.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dividend tax rates for 2023/24?

For the 2023/24 tax year, the dividend tax rates will remain the same as in 2022/23. See the table below for the tax rates and associated income bands.

Annual incomeDividend tax rate
Personal allowanceUp to 12,5700%
Basic rateOver 12,570 to 50,2708.75%
Higher rateOver 50,270 to 125,14033.75%
Additional rateOver 125,14039.35%

How are dividends taxed?

Taxation of dividends is completed through your self-assessment personal tax return. The deadline for the submission of your self-assessment personal tax return is 31 January after the tax year end.

What is the dividend allowance for the 2023/24 tax year?

The dividend allowance has been reduced to £1,000 for the 2023/24 tax year. That means you’ll be able to receive dividends up to £1,000 without being liable for tax regardless of how many other types of income you earn from alternative sources such as salary, rental income, and bank interest.

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