I want to close down my consultancy company and pay the funds it holds to me as the only shareholder. Should I wait until the new tax year or start the process now?
A. If permission is granted from the Taxman in advance (called a C16 clearance), the funds the company distributes to the shareholders during the winding-up process will be treated as a capital gain and taxed at 10%, where Entrepreneurs’ Relief applies.
However, the law will change on 1 March 2012. From that date where more than £25,000 is distributed to shareholders in anticipation of the winding-up of the company, the entire amount of the distributed funds will be treated as income and taxed like dividends. That means Entrepreneurs’ Relief cannot apply and the rate of tax due on the distribution will leap from 10% to 25% or more. The capital gains treatment can still be achieved if the company is put into formal liquidation, but that is likely to cost £7,000 or more. So if you want to wind up your company and it holds more than £25,000, get those funds paid out by 1 March 2012.