2. Taking money out of a limited company

As a director of a limited company, you can take money from the company in 3 ways.

Salary, expenses and benefits

If you want the company to pay you a salary, expenses or benefits, you must register the company as an employer with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The company must take Income Tax and National Insurance contributions from your salary payments and pay these to HMRC, along with employers’ National Insurance contributions.

If you or one of your employees make personal use of something that belongs to the business, you must report it as a benefit and pay any tax due.

Dividends

A dividend is a payment a company can make to shareholders if it has made enough profit.

You can’t count dividends as business costs when you work out your Corporation Tax.

Your company mustn’t pay out more in dividends than its available profits from current and previous financial years.

You must usually pay dividends to all shareholders.

To pay a dividend, you must:

  • hold a directors’ meeting to ‘declare’ the dividend
  • keep minutes of the meeting, even if you’re the only director

Dividend paperwork

For each dividend payment the company makes, you must write up a dividend voucher showing the:

  • date
  • company name
  • names of the shareholders being paid a dividend
  • amount of the dividend

You must give a copy of the voucher to recipients of the dividend and keep a copy for your company’s records.

Tax on dividends

Your company doesn’t need to pay tax on dividend payments. But shareholders may have to pay Income Tax if they’re over £5,000.

Directors’ loans

If you take more money out of a company than you’ve put in - and it isn’t salary or dividend - it’s called a ‘directors’ loan.’

If your company makes directors’ loans, you must keep records of them. There are also some detailed tax rules about how directors’ loans are handled.