My post count is Majestic
Thanks for you replies everyone they have been as ever, very informative
Representing brand SPARTAN!!
Contractor Among Contractors
Should post faster
Up to now (coming towards the end of my first 6 month stint) I have taken regular dividends when the money hits my account (as I'm on weekly self-billing) but that was with the aim of getting my warchest built up and earning as much interest as possible given the poor rates.
Now I have my warchest, I am cutting down the number of dividends and will move onto a monthly then quarterly cycle as I "need" the money much less than when I first started (with little/no personal funds if this didn't work out).
My accountant will then roll up my dividend payments at year and and will feed them into my self assessment accordingly.
Note that even if an invoice hasn't been paid, the director can still declare a dividend provided the company has sufficient cash in the bank to pay the dividend and they have no reason to believe the invoice won't be paid. (That's probably pushing it but it's perfectly legal from what I have read).
When you raise a dividend you need to have a board meeting and produce meeting minutes and a dividend voucher for the shareholder(s). If you are running a close company (as you will be) then the actual "board meeting" is a formality but the meeting minutes and dividend vouchers are essential otherwise the dividend could be challenged.
Your accountant will supply you with a template for the minutes and voucher, they are pretty simple but watch out for the gross vs net dividend because the calculation is a bit goofy. The net dividend is the amount you get paid, the gross dividend includes this nominal "tax credit".
You should also consider taking a salary up to the tax free limit of £7,488 (£624/month) because reduces your corporation tax and is more efficient than taking a dividend. This does depend on how much income you have earned in the UK this financial year though so get your accountant to review your tax affairs in detail and advise on this.
When choosing an accountant, I strongly suggest that you get one with some sort of system that allows you to see the exact state of your business at any time - especially if you are considering taking dividends quite frequently. This could be by using a proprietary online portal system, off the shelf system like FreeAgent or Xero or perhaps a spreadsheet that you update on your PC.
Some people retain a lot of money in their company to avoid higher rate tax and pay out dividends from their retained funds quite infrequently, others like to run it close to the wire and take frequent dividends to pay down their flexible or offset mortgage.
I would advise that you take the £7488 salary and dividends when the invoices are paid until you get to the higher rate tax limit and then retain funds in your company as a war chest.
Free advice and opinions - refunds are available if you are not 100% satisfied.