Dividend tax credits replaced by new allowance

Dividend tax credits will be replaced with a new £5,000 tax-free allowance from April 2016, the Chancellor George Osborne announced during his summer Budget statement.

Under current rules the tax on dividends is reduced with tax credits. Basic rate taxpayers currently pay no tax on dividend income while higher rate taxpayers are charged 25% and additional rate taxpayers 30.55%.

From April 2016, investors will pay no tax on dividend income below £5,000 but income exceeding the allowance will be taxed at the following rates:

  • Basic rate taxpayers: 7.5%
  • Higher rate taxpayers: 32.5%
  • Additional rate taxpayers: 38.1%.

The dividend allowance will be in addition to the £1,000 personal savings allowance for income such as bank interest.

Sean McCann, chartered financial planner at NFU Mutual, urged investors to review their stocks and shares portfolio:

“A new £5,000 tax-free allowance on dividends sounds great but there will be winners and losers. Basic rate taxpayers won’t be any better off. In fact, basic rate taxpayers with more than £5,000 in dividend payments will start paying tax on their dividend income.

“What is clear from today’s announcement is that anyone with stocks and shares should review their investments to make sure they aren’t paying any more tax than they have to.”

However, Anthony Thomas, chairman of the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, welcomed the move:

“For some the new dividend allowance will offer a useful simplification, although it is possible that some people on modest incomes will now have to start paying tax on their dividend income and be brought into self-assessment in order to collect what is due from them.

“That apart, the dividend allowance together with the £1,000 personal savings allowance will encourage more individuals to save outside of the constraints of an ISA.”

Contact us to discuss what the Summer Budget 2015 means for your personal finances.