Independent Contractor Services
Find out how much more you could bring home each
month. Contact us free on 0800 195 3750 or via email
Tax basics for limited company contractors
Posted Dec 3, 2012
When you start to contract via your own company, you will be liable for a number of business taxes, in addition to the individual taxes you will already be familiar with when you had a permanent job.
1. Corporation Tax.
All companies pay a tax on their annual profits. Assuming you make under £300,000 in profits, your company will be liable to the 'small profits' tax rate which is currently 20% (2013/14 tax year). Larger companies, who generate over £1.5m in annual profits pay the main corporation tax rate of 23%. In between the two thresholds, a system of 'marginal relief' applies.
Your contractor accountant will inform HMRC that your limited company has been formed (unless it is already active and you have paid corporation tax before).
Each year, your accountant will fill in your Corporation Tax return (Form CT600) and submit it online. You must pay the previous year's tax within 9 months of your company year end date.
Limited company contractors who are caught by IR35 will pay themselves a 'deemed salary', comprising most of the company's annual profits, so their Corporation Tax liability will be nil or very small.
Find out more in our Corporation Tax guide.
2. Value Added Tax
Most contractors register for VAT, even if they do not expect to breach the £79,000 turnover threshold in any given 12 month period. Depending on your circumstances, you can register for the standard VAT scheme, or the Flat Rate scheme.
If you don't expect to reclaim large amounts of expenses, you may well be better off by joining the Flat Rate Scheme. Instead of accounting for VAT on each transaction on the standard scheme, you apply a flat percentage to your turnover (14.5% for most contractors). In the first year of joining the scheme, you benefit further from a 1% discount to the flat rate - to 13.5%.
Each quarter, you (or your accountant) will complete a VAT return, and submit it together with payment within one month of the end of the quarterly period.
Find out more about accounting for VAT.
3. Employers' National Insurance
Limited companies pay Class 1 NICs on the salaries paid to their employees. As your 'employer', your company will therefore be liable to pay 13.8% on the salary you draw above £148 per week (2013/14).
4. Employees' National Insurance
Employees (including limited company directors) also pay Class 1 NICs on their earnings. The rates are 12% between £149 and £797 per week, and 2% on earnings above £797 per week.
Read more in out guide to National Insurance.
5. Income Tax
Any salary you draw as a limited company director is subject to standard PAYE (Pay as your Earn) taxation.
You will pay income tax on any income received above the personal allowance threshold (currently £9,440 in 2013/14), according to the tax bands you cover (at 20% - basic rate, 40% - higher rate and 50% - additional rate).
If you earn above £100,000, the value of the personal allowance is removed by £1 for every £2 over this threshold.
6. Dividend Tax
Assuming you are not caught by IR35, you will draw most of the profit from your company in the form of dividends.
Dividends are taxed at three rates during the 2013/14 tax year - 10%, 32.5% and 37.5% depending on the amounts involved. However, to account for the tax that Corporation Tax has already been paid on the company's profits, a 10% tax credit is applied to all dividends, which means that the effective tax rates are actually 0% (basic rate), 25% (higher rate), and 30.55% (additional rate).
Read more about how dividends are taxed.
7. Other Taxes
Other taxes you may come across while contracting include Capital Gains Tax (if you realise a profit on any investments, including if you sell your company at some time in the future).
- Professional Indemnity Insurance - Essential cover from Hiscox
- Helix Management Ltd - Up to 90% retention. Same day payments
- Parasol - the UK's favourite umbrella company
- Qdos - IR35 experts - Providers of low cost contractor insurance
- Contractor Finance - up to £30,000, when you need it
- Umbrella Company - 12,000 contractors can't be wrong!
- SJD Accountancy - UK's largest Accountants to Contractors
- Together we're stronger! - Join PCG, representing contractors
- ClearSky Accounting - specialist support for contractors
- Free IR35 & Tax Review - Call ICS on 0800 195 3750
- InTouch Contractor Accounting - Clients love our personal service
- Contractor Mortgages - Based on your daily rate alone