Ultimate Tax Savings Guide for UK software & Tech Businesses
Most start-up tech businesses can receive an average of £124,000 cash or cash equivalent with prudent tax planning and successful grant applications.
This article includes the following sections –
1. About us
2. Ultimate tax savings concepts
Employment allowance relief
Super deduction allowance
R & D tax credit
Company losses to carry back
Investment in electric car
Salary sacrifice pension scheme
3. Director’s tax planning
4. How Price & Accountants can help
5. The most common mistakes
6. Our process: start to series A funding
7. Our on boarding process
Ultimate tax savings concepts for small businesses
I Claim up to £5,000 with the employment allowance relief Employment Allowance is a tax relief which allows eligible businesses to reduce their National Insurance contributions (NICs) bill each year. You can claim this if you’re a business, and your employer Class 1 National Insurance liabilities were less than £100,000 in the previous tax year. From April 2022, the Government has increased the Employment Allowance relief from £4,000 to £5,000 to further benefit SMEs.
II Invest in your business with super-deduction allowance: To spur business investment, the Government has introduced a new allowance which enables companies to cut their tax bill by 25 pence for every £1 they invest in any qualifying machinery and equipment. This can include the purchase of computers, most commercial vehicles and office furniture and can be claimed in the year of purchase.
III Invest in software development – cash back on the eligible expenses:
Research and development (R&D) tax credits are a government incentive designed to reward UK companies for investing in innovation.
a. Most loss making businesses claim R&D rebate which works out 33pm for every £1 spend on R&D.
b. You can choose to reduce your corporation tax liability using the R&D claim. Business must be profit making to……
Can both the employer and employee save money when making pension contributions?
Pension salary sacrifice is a method of saving National Insurance Contributions (NIC) for employers and employees and yet it is reported that almost 50% of employers do not have such arrangements in place.
With NIC rate increases (due to the Health and Social Care Levy) from 6th April 2022, there is now a stronger case for employers to consider it as it can lead to a saving of up to 28.3% on employee pension contributions dependent on the level of earnings. The Government has also confirmed it has no intention of abolishing salary sacrifice for pension contributions.
A salary sacrifice arrangement is an agreement between the employer and employee where the employee agrees to a reduction in salary or bonus and in return receives a benefit. The benefit here is a contribution by the employer of an equivalent amount into the employee’s pension scheme. The employee pension contribution therefore becomes an additional employer contribution and there is no difference in the total pension contribution made into the scheme.
Traditionally employee pension contributions attract tax relief but not NIC relief which means the employee has to pay NIC and the employer has to pay NIC. Under a salary sacrifice arrangement, no NIC is payable as the gross pay of the employee is reduced.
On employee pension contributions, for a typical basic rate taxpayer, this would lead to a saving of employee’s NIC of 13.25% and for the employer it would lead to a saving of 15.05% (there could also be an additional saving of 0.5% if the employer pays the apprenticeship levy). Employees can use their savings to either boost take home pay or increase their pension contributions. Employers are also at liberty to share some savings by increasing the pension contributions made for employees.
An increased saving would occur for employers through R&D claims. Provided the employees are linked to R&D activities, the entire pension contributions will be subject to R&D tax relief. Contributions under the pension salary sacrifice are considered employer pension contributions and therefore allowable for R&D purposes.
Under the current economic climate employers should look into offering an improved benefits package for employees where both parties financially benefit. There are many considerations that need to be taken into account in order to ensure that salary sacrifice arrangements are beneficial for both employers and employees as there is no “one fits all” arrangement.
How can Price & Accountants assist?
Our accounting firm in London is equipped with the best accountants and tax advisors that provide clients with tailored advice and support in all tax-related issues and tax planning. We would be happy to go through feasibility for pension salary sacrifice arrangements on a no-fee obligation basis to ensure it can be beneficial to both the employer and employee population. Get in touch with our team right away to learn more.
Pension contributions through your Limited Company provide substantial tax benefits. In the UK, pensions are deemed an allowable expense by HMRC and thus can be compensated against your Corporation Tax bill.
There are two ways to contribute to your pension:
- By making individual contributions
- By making direct contributions through your Limited Company
Both choices have tax benefits and depending on the situation, one may be more favourable than the other.
Contributing to a personal pension – the tax implications:
Every payment you make into your pension is tax-deductible and the amount determines the rate of income tax you pay.
For example, if you are a basic rate taxpayer and you pay £100 into your pension, you will save a total of £125 after tax relief is applied.
Nowadays, you can contribute 100% of your taxable income up to a maximum of £40,000.
If you earn less than £3,600 per year or have no income, you can make pension contributions of up to £3,600 per year.
Making contributions to your pension as a director of your Limited Company – what are the tax implications?
Getting a moderate salary and dividends is the best way to reduce your tax liabilities and maximise your take-home pay, but it isn’t the best way to increase your pension because dividends aren’t considered ‘relevant UK earnings.’
Therefore, the best way would be to make pre-tax contributions to your pension through your Limited Company that count as allowable expenses. This enables your company to receive tax relief against Corporation tax, whereby you could save up to 19% in Corporation Tax in the current tax year.
How Price & Accountants can Assist?
Our accountants based near Liverpool Street Station, London can provide our clients with tailored advice and support in all tax-related issues and tax planning. This is a fabulous reason to be a client of Price & Accountants! Get in touch with our team right away to learn more.
We need a passionate, experienced, metrics-driven marketer to grow the practice and enhance our brand.
To be successful in this role, you will have relevant experience and demonstrated success planning and implementing marketing campaigns and you will be passionate about identifying and testing new opportunities to drive growth.
We are a team of five friendly professionals from a diverse group, who work hard. You will directly report to the director however you will be working across the team and advisors.
For the right candidates we offer competitive remuneration (up to OTE £30K) including quarterly bonus (based on new business), Statutory holidays and pension contribution, Smart working environment. Flexible working from home and two to three days in our super modern covid friendly office in Moorgate, London.
You will have unique opportunity to learn from professional entrepreneur, director.
You are going to love this job:
- This role would suit someone with minimum two years experience in this space.
- You are a persuasive writer with good presentation skills and phone manner.
- Thrive on creating, implementing and managing multi-channel marketing campaigns
- You are excited by the challenge of constantly improving marketing effectiveness and ROI
- Have experience using marketing automation software such as ‘active campaign’
Great opportunity to get involved in all aspects of marketing:
- Contributes towards ideas, and research to help develop marketing strategies
- Sets marketing schedules and coordinates with colleagues and other professionals to implement strategies across multiple channels such as CRM system (Active Campaign), LinkedIn, You tube.
- Develops sales strategies and approaches for services, such as special promotions, sponsored events, etc.
- Helps to detail, design, and implement marketing plans for each service being offered
- Answers questions from clients about product and service benefits
- Create materials for email and general marketing
- Generate leads by contacting prospects through LinkedIn, Wework and other channels
- In person networking with entrepreneurs or similar network organisations
- Update company website with news and blogs, monitor SEO performance to capture leads
- Help to create contents and strategies for Video platforms such as Youtube, LinkedIn etc.
- Help to run and manage company branding
We would welcome your job application. Please send us your CV to: email@example.com
A strategic advantage for SMEs
At Price & Accountants, we have heavily invested in the Cloud because we can see how Cloud-
based accounting systems add value to our clients. In today’s market, businesses need to be
scalable in order to succeed and cloud accounting platforms provide enterprises with variety of
services which traditional and non- cloud accounting systems just couldn’t offer. Statistics
published in 2013 reveal that exclusively adopting the cloud for your accounting will be a
fundamental game changer for your enterprise.
The adoption of cloud accounting systems by businesses in the UK is growing rapidly.
Historically, accountancy firms in the UK have been too risk-averse to buy into a fully integrated
Cloud. With a document delivery service boosting a revolutionary combination for facilitating
cross-departmental and departmental teamwork the cloud gives enterprises a cost effective,
secure and flexible foundation for organic growth.
In the start of 2013 something changed, A survey by Fasthosts recorded that there was an
estimated 4.9 million business (in 2019 there was 5.9 million) in the UK which employed 24.3
million, and had a combined turnover of 3.300 billion. In fact, SME’s accounted for 99.9 per cent
of private sector turnover. With 841,000 private sector business, London had more firms than
any other region in the UK. The south east had the second largest number of business with
719,000. The business landscape was changing and many new players were beginning to take
advantage of how the digital revolution could change the way of doing business and create
measurable value in a fundamentally new way. Almost a year later, in 2014 more than two thirds
(70%) of small businesses and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK have stated that an
early adoption of the cloud will be an important factor to contribute to the growth of their
business in the next 12 months.
We understand that for many SMEs, shifting into the cloud is giant leap but for this particular
group this leap has been proved to be extremely beneficial. The scalability of the Cloud allows
your business to upscale and downscale your business requirements to accommodate your
needs or changes. This in turn allows you to support your business growth organically without
the highly expensive changes with other more traditional accounting systems.
Today’s cloud offers business more than just Mobility, scalability, real-time info, visualisation
and cost effectiveness, It is revolutionising the way in which we do business. Leaping into the
cloud isn’t merely a technology shift it’s a cultural shift. Cloud computing brings forth a wave of
closer collaboration by bringing the business together in one central, accessible location. One of
the many key benefits of the cloud is the scope of information it provides on where a business is
exhaling, thus enabling owners to make the right decision on how to make significant
improvements for more efficient systems and closer collaboration.
Using a best-of-breed cloud accounting system, like Xero has enabled us to provide our clients
with real-time accounts and cash flow information, and an enterprise mobility strategy which is
changing the way they do business dramatically. Management can harness the power of real
time bank data thus saving time and enhancing their ability to make fast and informed business
decisions. Data visualisation for finance is changing the way SMEs work by making complex
finance data simple and accessible. Armed with the right insights business Xero allows owners
can explore and understand the relationship between a global market, investors and their
Traditionally, it was only large corporates that had vast databases on their customers, with
Xero’s engineering SMEs have cloud databases with a secure and safe API which can connect
in real time to systems and other databases around the world. Xero gives business owners a
platform to refine their internal date and make informed strategic decisions to boost
We have noticed that a lack of education with regards to the cloud is having massive impact on
the amount of small and medium sized enterprises that are considering making the leap. At
Price & Accountants, we are committed to providing our clients with a quality service in an
efficient manner. We have helped and continue to educate our clients through our top-notch
educational consulting services and free online resource materials.
So in conclusion, moving your infrastructure into the cloud will enable you exploit saving
opportunities and make better business decisions based on credible data. So if you want to
minimise risk and maximise your ROI with an accurate, actionable and transparent business
intelligence then migrating into the cloud with our cloud accountancy tool is most probably your
Want to know more?
If you would like more in-depth guidance regarding your current finance system, a business
accounting consultation, or tax advisory, please contact 02037 355 119, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.priceandaccountants.com
It is always important to ensure that your employees get the maximum benefits possible from
working for you, both as a way to retain the best talent in your company by boosting morale,
and for your employees to save money, and feel secure in their workplace.
We are breaking down the many ways in which your company can offer excellent benefits to
your employees, all counting as tax-free expenses.
How can an employer offer employees something tax-free?
There are a number of non-taxable employee benefits and payments which you should know
about, as they allow you to provide benefits to your employees that they may deem very
valuable, at minimal cost to you. For most companies, this is a no-brainer.
To illustrate how this works on a day-to-day level, let’s use the example employee Joe
Bloggs, who works for Alpha Services. Both parties can benefit when Alpha Services offers
Joe things like advice on pensions, work-related training, and more. The below are all non-
Tax-free employee expenses:
● Sticking with our example, Alpha Services can fund certain kinds of independent
advice in relation to employee shareholder agreements. This could benefit Joe
Bloggs without being taxable for the company.
● Annual parties or functions to celebrate employee or company success, or simply to
boost morale, are exempt. As long as they incur costs of no more than £150 per
head, then Alpha Services can throw a yearly bash for their staff, tax-free.
● One of Joe’s colleagues, Natalie, uses a wheelchair, and Alpha Services are not
taxed on the benefit of the private use of her wheelchair, as this enables her to work
for her employer. Similarly, for any other people using equipment or services to help
with their job (such as a walking stick or a hearing aid), this would be exempt also.
● Alpha Services regularly provides family fun days at their offices, where employees
can bring along their family members and enjoy food and entertainment. This
“goodwill entertainment” cost Alpha less than £250, so it is exempt from tax, subject
to various conditions.
● Once a year, Alpha Services provides Joe Bloggs and his colleagues with a health
check up or medical screening to ensure everyone is in shipshape, which is also
● When Joe works late during big deadlines, a late night taxi is provided for him to
make sure he gets home safe, and this is exempt. Again, this would be subject to
certain conditions, such as the travel needing to take place after 9pm, but this does
apply when necessary.
● Sometimes Alpha Services provides free or subsidised meals for Joe and his team
when they close a big contract. This comes with certain conditions, but is a great
initiative as employees really appreciate this added extra.
● When Joe travels abroad on business for Alpha Services, any medical treatment he
needs (whether due to illness or injury) can be taken care of by the company, tax-
● Alpha Services provides Joe with one mobile phone (for his use only, not to be
distributed to a family member) on a tax-free basis. Should Alpha decide to simply
give Joe money towards his own mobile phone in the future, this would be taxable.
● Alpha Services provides Joe with a car parking space near the Alpha building to
make his travel easier, which is exempt. They do the same for other employees,
providing motorcycle or bicycle parking spaces, too.
● Joe and Alpha Services have recently agreed to more flexible working arrangements,
which means he will be working from home a lot more. In this instance, Alpha can
pay up to £4 per week, £18 per month or £216 per year without supporting evidence
of this. Should Alpha end up paying more to Joe, they will be required to provide
evidence, or have an agreement in place with HMRC.
● Alpha Services help their employees with organising their pension, annuity, lump
sum, gratuity and similar benefits, and do not need to pay tax on any expenses
incurred during this process. They do this for Joe too, and this extends to any
member of his family or household that they help should he retire or pass away.
● Joe is nearing retirement age in a few years, so Alpha Services have offered him
pension advice up to the value of £500. Though this is often offered to those nearing
retirement age, younger employees can also benefit from this, and it is tax-free.
● When Joe buys equipment, stationery or anything else needed to perform his duties,
and uses his own payment card, Alpha Services reimburse him for this, as long as
the items were for work use and not personal. This is tax-free.
● Joe Bloggs had to relocate in order to take up his position at Alpha Services, so the
company paid for his removal expenses, exempt from tax and NICs. This is subject
to certain terms, but essentially the first £8,000 of Joe’s moving expenses may
qualify for this exemption.
● In order for Joe to advance in his career and further his development, ongoing
training is provided by Alpha Services to help Joe grow in his role. The costs incurred
from this are exempt from tax.
● Alpha Services wants all employees to be as healthy as possible, so they provide
their staff, including Joe, with a gym membership. As standard, any sports facilities
provided by an employer for staff and their families can be exempt.
● Access to mental health services is important to the management team at Alpha
Services, in order to minimise absenteeism due to stress and burnout. They provide
Joe and the rest of their employees with optional welfare counselling, which is
exempt from tax.
● Alpha Services sometimes provide Joe and his team with transport options to take
them to and from work, meetings and trainings. The expense of shared vehicles,
buses, bicycles or subsidised public transport is exempt from tax. Similarly, if Joe is
travelling for work and incurs the cost of strikes or industrial action, fees or tolls, or
unexpected accommodation needs, Alpha Services can reimburse him on a tax-free
● As a general rule, most employee benefits are exempt from tax and NICs if the cost
does not exceed £50. This is subject to many conditions, so it is always best to chat
to an advisor where possible.
If you want to find out more about how you can maximise your employee benefits, get in
touch with our team at Price & Accountants and we would be happy to help. We are
committed to helping small businesses in London and around the UK with their accounting
needs, using Xero online accounting software and our expert team of advisors, all dedicated
to helping your business flourish.
What happens when a company director borrows money from their business to help with personal finance, but struggles to repay the loan? While this can be stressful, there are ways to postpone the repayment cutoff in order to avoid the s.455 tax charge. Here’s what you need to know:
As an example, let’s say Joe Bloggs of Alpha Services borrowed £75,000 from his personal company on 20th March 2019, to help pay for an upcoming home move. He did this as a taxable benefit in kind, and an alternative to taking out a bridging loan, thinking it would save him paying the interest.
Joe intended to repay the loan quickly once his previous property was sold, but after months of negotiation, the potential buyer pulled out in July 2019, and interest in the property has since dried up.
Joe is now concerned about having to pay the 32.5% corporation tax charge under s.455 Corporation Tax Act (CTA) 2010, which would amount to £24,375, and is payable to HMRC.
What is the nine-month rule?
Alpha Services may be able to avoid this payment if Joe can repay the loan to the company before 31st December 2019. This is because the charge only has to be paid to the extent that the loan has not been repaid within nine months of the relevant year end.
Typically this would mean voting a dividend which is credited against the loan balance, but this would be taxable income for Joe Bloggs who is a higher rate taxpayer, so in this instance it doesn’t offer much help.
Alternatively, Joe could borrow funds from a bank to repay the loan, then use the eventual proceeds to repay the bank loan. Though this would mean he will need to pay interest, it will still be lower than the tax payable on a large dividend. If, however, Joe struggles to raise finance quickly, he may run into further problems.
So what would we recommend here at Price & Accountants? A great way to make this work for you is to change the accounting date.
What does it mean to change the accounting date?
Joe Bloggs could alter the Alpha Services accounting date to just before the loan was issued, meaning the loan would essentially disappear from the records until the next accounting period, giving Joe more time to sell his property and repay the company without being required to pay the s.455 charge.
Doing this would mean that, if the loan was issued on 20th March 2019, and Joe changes his company’s accounting date to 28th February 2019, the loan will not show up in the accounts until the year ending 28th February 2020, giving him until 30th November 2020 to sell his house and pay back the loan.
What about changing this back?
Joe can shorten the company’s accounting period as many times as he likes, but can only lengthen it once every 5 years, with some exceptions. Provided that Alpha Services has not changed the date before, Joe can revert back to a 31st March year-end whenever he wishes, if at all.
If you want to find out more about tax on your director’s loan, get in touch with our team at Price & Accountants. We are committed to helping small businesses in London and around the UK with their accounting needs, using Xero online accounting software and our expert team of advisors, all dedicated to helping your business flourish.
Every startup needs working capital to grow, and there are several ways to get this… but which one is the best? As the founder or owner, you could provide capital by purchasing more shares or by simply lending your company the cash. This could offer a more speedy return on your investment, and make you more tax efficient at the same time.
- Is funding by buying shares not advisable?
Many people buy shares in order to provide more capital, and while there is nothing wrong with this, depending on your situation there may be other, more beneficial ways. One of the biggest disadvantages of buying shares is that you may need to wait a while for any Return on Investment (ROI). Your company can pay you dividends but only when it is making a profit and in the case a new startup business, it may take a while. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll see a return on your investment at all.
- What’s so great about funding by loaning capital?
If you’re looking for a faster ROI as many founders, then lending your company the money could be the way to go forward. Providing a loan means that you can be paid interest straight away, plus loans are generally more flexible than being paid dividends as you can receive some or all of your money back without being required to cancel share capital, which could significantly affect your tax. This leaves you with more control of your money, which as an investor, feels much safer.
- How can being married help?
If you happen to be married or in a civil partnership, then lending to your company could bring you even better tax advantages, so it’s worth exploring this avenue fully.
These tax advantages also work if you are unmarried with a “significant other”, however as a general rule, it’s much easier if you have combined finances through a lawful marriage or civil partnership.
This arrangement can help you save on tax if your partner pays a lower rate of tax than you do, as they can lend you money and charge you interest. You then lend the money to your company and charge the company a similar interest rate.
- How does this work?
Doing things this way requires that a) the interest is taxable, and b) any interest paid on qualifying loans that are used for company funds, the purchasing of equipment, or for working capital for a trading company are tax deductible.
Here’s an example that breaks this process down:
Joe is a director, shareholder and higher rate taxpayer of the Joe Bloggs Ltd., and the business requires some new equipment. Joe’s wife Jane is a basic tax payer, and so she makes an interest-free loan of £100,000 to Joe, who then lends this to his company Joe Bloggs Ltd., charging interest at 7% per annum.
Joe is liable for tax of £2,800 (£7,000 x 40%) on the interest he receives from Joe Bloggs Ltd. Joe doesn’t pay Jane any interest which means there is no tax relief for him to claim (though the loan to Joe Bloggs Ltd. does qualify).
Alternatively, if Jane decides to charge Joe the same rate that he charges Joe Bloggs Ltd. (7%) instead of an interest-free loan, then the interest Joe pays Jane will be tax deductible. This means the taxable interest (£7,000) he is paid by Joe Bloggs Ltd. equals the tax deductible interest he must pay to Jane. One cancels out the other, and instead of paying £2,800 in tax, Joe pays nothing.
Jane’s loan to Joe isn’t a qualifying loan, so she will have to pay tax on the interest she receives from him. Luckily, as Jane is a basic rate taxpayer, her bill is £1,400, meaning a tax saving of up to £1,400, and possibly much less depending on Jane’s other sources of income. As mentioned earlier, the advantage of doing things this way means that even if Joe Bloggs Ltd. is not making a profit at the moment, it can still pay Joe a return on his loan. This is often the best and most tax efficient way for company founders to provide capital to their business.
Want to find out more about how this could help make you more tax efficient? Get in touch with our team at Price & Accountants to discuss how we can help. We are committed to helping small businesses in London and around the UK with their accounting needs, using Xero online accounting software and our expert team of advisors, all dedicated to helping your business flourish.
If you have recently sold a residential property, you will likely have made a healthy capital gain and discovered that special higher tax rates apply to this. There may be a way to defer paying this tax and reduce it overall. Here’s how:
- EIS tax reliefs
Investing in a company which qualifies for EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) tends to offer a few tax advantages, such as up-front income tax relief, capital gains tax (CGT) free growth on the investment and capital gains tax deferral relief.
CGT deferral relief means you can defer the taxation of any capital gain you made in the previous year or the three years following your EIS investment. When this happens, the gain becomes taxable only when you sell or transfer your EIS investment.
Let’s look at an example to demonstrate this process:
Joe makes capital gains of £100,000 in 2018/19, and makes a qualifying investment of the same amount in an EIS company. He claims CGT deferral relief, meaning he is not required to pay the capital gains tax that would be due on 31st January 2020. Joe then sells his EIS shares in 2025/26, triggering a tax charge on an amount that is equal in value to the deferred gain taxable for that year.
- How does this work for residential property gains?
If you have recently sold a residential property, then you will know that the rules explaining how the deferred gain will be taxed are worded in a very specific way, and you can make the most of this by doing research and using the rules to your advantage.
As of April 2016, rates of tax on capital gains are 10%, as long as your income combined with the gains comes to no more than the income tax basic rate band. If they exceed this, they are then taxed at 20%. However, when the gain concerns residential property (such as houses, flats, apartments, land intent for building, and so on) the rates are 18% and 28% respectively.
- How does EIS deferral relief help you be more tax efficient?
By using EIS deferral relief, you can change the nature of a residential property gain to a non-residential one, and therefore benefit from the lower, normal CGT rates of 10% and 20%. You’re probably wondering why more people don’t do this? Though this tax-saving arrangement is entirely legitimate, HMRC discourages it by making the rules hard to get around (but not impossible).
- How do you overcome HMRC guidelines?
It’s difficult to find information that helps you navigate HMRC guidelines, especially since there are a lot of varying answers online. Some sites will indicate that the previously deferred gain is only liable for CGT at 10% or 20%, and others (more in line with HMRC guidelines) will tell you that the deferred gain retains its original status as a residential property gain. Understanding the legislation is the key to making this distinction, and this is something that Price & Accountants can assist you with.
- HMRC guidelines in layman’s terms
In the Schedule 5B Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992, you will find the EIS deferral relief rules explained in full. This states that the revived gain is “equal to so much of the deferred gain” in proportion to the amount of EIS investment sold.
Here’s a simple example of this to break it down further:
Joe sold 50% of his EIS investment in 2025/26, so the capital gain taxable is an amount “equal to” the same proportion, i.e. 50% of the original gain. As is often the case, minor, seemingly insignificant wording details in tax legislation can completely alter a tax bill. In the case of the EIS deferral relief rules, an EIS investment could potentially reduce your tax rate by almost half, which is an amazing saving.
- When must this be paid?
By making an investment in an EIS company, you make it possible to defer when tax is payable on the gain, and you will only pay this when you sell or transfer the investment. Although HMRC rules disagree, most tax experts will advise you that the gain changes its nature because of the deferral and so special higher rates of tax no longer apply, helping you be significantly more tax efficient.
If you want to find out more about how your residential property sale could be more tax efficient than you think, get in touch with our team at Price & Accountants. We are committed to helping small businesses in London and around the UK with their accounting needs, using Xero online accounting software and our expert team of advisors, all dedicated to helping your business flourish.
A company car scheme is a great incentive for employees, allowing businesses to attract and retain the best talent, but every year the tax and national insurance that goes along with company cars rises, and it could be costing both you and your company more than necessary. If your car is more than a few years old, it may be more tax efficient to transfer ownership to you. Here’s why:
- How does company car tax work?
If you have been driving a company car for a while, you will likely to know that the income tax is primarily calculated on the list price of the car was new and when it was first registered approval on its CO2 emissions. The price of the car when new will remain the same, but the CO2 emissions will inevitably creep up year after year. When this happens, it means that your company car is costing you more in tax, and your company more in NI with each year that passes. Meanwhile, as with any vehicle that is being used day-to-day, the value of the car decreases. This is why it can eventually become much more tax efficient for both parties if your company hands the car over to you instead.
- What makes this more tax efficient?
Let’s look at an example of this in action to explain how it works:
Jane gets a new car from her company, Acorn Ltd., which costs £28,000 as of April 2014. It is estimated that this car will be replaced in April 2021. At the moment, the car is worth £12,000, and has CO2 emissions of 175g/km. Jane will be taxed on £10,360 in the year 2019/20, and also in 2020/21 (total: £20,720) and Acorn will be required to pay Class 1A national insurance on this amount.
If, instead, Acorn gives Jane ownership of her company car on 6th April 2019 (the beginning of the new tax year), they will only need to pay a one-off tax and national insurance charge on £12,000, saving them money in the long run. As a higher rate taxpayer, this transfer will mean Jane saves £3,488 in tax, and Acorn saves £1,203 in national insurance.
- Surely that’s a no-brainer?
For the most part, it is. But while this may seem like a great idea, before you jump ahead and start the process there are a few other things to consider, primarily the cost of running the car as this can affect the cost effectiveness of this plan. If Acorn Ltd. pays the running costs of the vehicle and gets tax relief on these costs, they can continue to do so even after the car has been transferred to Jane. However, this would mean Jane will need to pay tax on these running costs paid by Acorn – why would Jane do this, you ask? Basically, she wouldn’t. To further equalise things and make the transfer fair on both parties, Acorn can pay Jane a mileage allowance for her business journeys, counteracting this tax and making both Jane’s and Acorn’s costs lower overall.
- How can my business pay me a mileage allowance?
Imagine Acorn Ltd. pays the running costs of what is now Jane’s car (let’s say £1,600 in 2019/20 and £1,700 in 2020/21). During this period, Jane drives 9,000 business miles, and because she now owns the car Acorn can pay her up to 45p per mile (tax and NI free) to cover the cost of fuel and any other charges she may incur.
If the cost of fuel comes to, for example, 13p per mile, this leaves an extra 32p per mile that Jane can use to partially pay back Acorn for the £3,400 worth of running costs it pays, leaving a mere £520 liable for tax and national insurance.
This of course means that the saving made by Acorn is reduced by transferring the car to Jane, but overall both parties are still much better off than they were previously.
- Look into the tax and national insurance of company cars that are more than a few years old, and identify where there are savings to be made depending on the car’s list price, CO2 emissions, mileage and running costs.
- Make sure your contract is directly with the insurance company or garage, as this will ensure your tax and national insurance are as cost effective as can be when your company pays the running costs of your own car.
- When your company transfers the company car to you, they lose an asset, so in the example above, Acorn lost £12,000 from their balance sheet because the car no longer belongs to them, it belongs to Jane. As long as Jane is the only shareholder in Acorn then this won’t matter, but if other shareholders are involved, then this transfer may need to be compensated.
If you would like further clarification on the above, or want to find out more about becoming even more tax efficient with your company car setup, get in touch with our team at Price & Accountants to discuss how we can help. We are committed to helping small businesses in London and around the UK with their accounting needs, using Xero online accounting software and our expert team of advisors, all dedicated to helping your business flourish.