Following the 2009 Budget and the recent publication of the 2009 Finance Bill, tax planning should now be towards the top of any agenda. Topics for consideration sooner rather than later include:

  • accelerating the payment of dividends and salary in this tax year to avoid the higher income tax (50 per cent for high earners) and national insurance (NI) charges (up 0.5 per cent) effective from 6 April 2010;
  • alternative schemes to deliver bonuses in the form of capital (taxed at 18 per cent) to avoid the higher rate of tax and NI; and
  • delaying the receipt of dividends from overseas until 1 July 2009 when most dividends received by a UK company will be exempt from tax.

For companies worried about meeting their future tax liabilities, HMRC have announced that they are prepared to spread the payment of tax over a period of up to six months. Also if you are expecting a loss in the current period that would be carried back to reduce a tax liability now due then that tax liability can be reduced to take account of the expected loss under the business payment support system.