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Advice and guidance on salaries, dividends and expenses

When you're self-employed or working through a limited company, you need to know how to structure your pay to ensure maximum tax efficiency. This pay structure includes your salary, limited company salary dividends, or self-employed salary dividends and expense reimbursements.

Claimable expenses

Claimable expenses are any expenses that are incurred during the course of your business's day-to-day activities. Typically, these would include:

  • Travel expenses to your clients' premises
  • Setting up a website
  • Business mobile phones and landlines
  • Business internet
  • Laptops and other equipment purchased for business use
  • Accountancy
  • Sustenance (such as lunches) for when you're working away from your usual place of business
  • Home working expenses (if you regularly work from home) in proportion to the amount of space and the time that you spend working from home
  • Insurance
  • Printing and advertising

An expense is generally not claimable when you derive a personal benefit from the purchase. For example, a suit that you purchase for work could be used for other occasions as well, so it's typically not claimable.

The effect of claiming back an incurred expense is that you save on the Corporation Tax payable on your company’s profit. The current Corporation Tax rate is 19%.

For advice or more information, chat to any of our consultants or with your personal accountant.


Salaries paid to the director and any other employees are also claimable expenses for your limited company. However, PAYE and NI are usually payable on any salaries. There are various rates and thresholds for PAYE and NI.

Ask your personal accountant to:

  • Advise you on what levels of your salary will be tax-efficient
  • Advise you on which PAYE and NI will be payable
  • Apply for your company’s PAYE scheme
  • Let you know when and how to pay PAYE and NI


If you are the director and/or a shareholder of a limited company, you can pay yourself a portion of the company's after-tax profits in the form of dividends. Limited company salary dividends are not taxable as long as your taxable earnings fall below a certain point (currently around £43,000 per annum).

Because of the tax-free allowance on dividends, they are one of the most tax-efficient ways of withdrawing funds from the company. However, depending on your circumstances and future plans, you may be able to retain funds in your company for withdrawal at a later (and more tax-efficient) date. Your best bet is to discuss the options with your personal accountant or one of Sable International's financial advisers.

South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 7070528) registered in England and Wales. Sable International is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Board in South Africa (FSP no. 41900) and holds an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (AFS License number 335 126).

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