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Dividends or Bonus? - revisited

This is a perennial question – should I take additional income from my private company in the form of a bonus or a dividend? From 1 April 2008 the answer to this question may have changed for some people.

Prior to 1 April 2008 it was preferable to declare a dividend if the company was paying tax at the small company rate or at the full rate of corporation tax. If profits fell into the marginal rate band then a bonus was more cost effective. On 1 April the marginal rate fell to 29.75% and so, from a tax perspective alone, dividends will now be preferred regardless of the level of company profits. There may of course be other factors to consider, such as pension contributions and minimum wage legislation but, provided these are factored in, paying dividends is likely to give a lower overall tax bill.

Companies with accounting periods straddling 1 April will have to calculate their own marginal tax rate for that period but, as a general rule of thumb, if the rate is 30% or lower then dividends will be the answer.



Date: 7th April, 2008
Author: Rachel Haddow


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