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HMRC internal manual

Business Income Manual

Specific deductions: pension schemes: wholly & exclusively: controlling directors & shareholders

S34 Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005, S54 Corporation Tax Act 2009

A pension contribution by an employer to a registered pension scheme in respect of any director or employee will be an allowable expense unless there is a non-trade purpose for the payment.

In cases where the contribution is part of a remuneration package paid wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade, then the contribution is an allowable expense. General guidance on deductions for remuneration paid to close relatives of directors can be found at BIM47105.

Whether there was a non-trade purpose for the payment will depend upon the facts of the individual case. The case of Samuel Dracup & Sons Ltd v Dakin [1957] 37TC377 (see BIM37745) was decided on its own particular facts. It confirms that, where there is a non-trade purpose for the payment, then the payment is disallowable, but you should not read more into it than that.

One situation where all or part of a contribution may not have been paid wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade is where the level of the remuneration package is excessive for the value of the work undertaken by that individual for the employer. In this situation, you should consider whether the amount of the overall remuneration package, not simply the amount of the pension contribution, was paid wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the employer’s trade.

On occasion an employer may make an increased pension contribution on the basis that a scheme is underfunded. It is important when comparing contributions between periods to consider the full facts, including the history of remuneration and contributions, before challenging a deduction based solely on annual comparatives.

You should accept that the contributions are paid wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade where the remuneration package paid in respect of a director of a close company, or an employee who is a close relative or friend of the director or proprietor (where the business is unincorporated) is comparable with that paid to unconnected employees performing duties of similar value. When there are no employees with whom duties are genuinely comparable, you should follow the general guidance at BIM47105.

Where the facts show that a definite part or proportion of an expense is not wholly and exclusively incurred for the purposes of the trade, only disallow that part or proportion.