Salary for 2022/2023
You may be aware that national insurance increased by 1.25% from 6 April 2022. This increase applies to both Employee NI and Employer NI. Given that there is a potential extra cost to you of 2.5%, you may be wondering what level of salary to pay yourself and/or your spouse this tax year.
In his recent Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced that the threshold for Employee National Insurance would be raised to a higher level than in previous years, to bring it in line with the personal allowance, which will alleviate some of the hike in rates.
The threshold for 2022/23 is as follows:
6 April 2022 – 5 July 2022 £9,880 (up from £9,568 in 2021/22)
6 July 2022 – 5 April 2023 £12,570
This means that the average annual salary that can be paid during 2022/23 without incurring any Employee NI is £11,908.
Below we discuss the options based on whether you are paying a director or an employee.
Salary of £9,100 to a director
Paying yourself or another director a salary of £9,100 is the simplest option and therefore we recommend you consider this. It means you will incur no NI at all and saves you the administrative burden of paying a small amount of Employer NI on the element above £9,100. You can make the payment as a one-off payment in one month, in which case you will benefit from receiving the whole of your personal allowance against it or can opt to take £758 per month. If you choose to take it as an ‘annual amount’ you will not be able to take any further salary payments during the tax year.
Salary of £11,908 to a director
This is the most tax efficient salary to pay yourself, although the savings made from paying this higher level are marginal. You will incur Employer NI of £2,808 x 15.05% = £422. The extra salary paid, plus Employer NI, will attract corporation relief at 19%, saving the company tax of £614. Hence the overall saving is £191, although reduced to £175 after considering dividend tax payable on extracting the saving from the company.
Claiming the employment allowance?
If you can claim the employment allowance (generally only available if you pay more than 2 people above £9,100 in the tax year, but see HMRC guidance for further information) then the optimum salary is £11,908. You will have no employer NI to pay and therefore the saving you make from paying this higher level will be £533 (£11,908-£9,100=£2,808 x 19%).
Salary to an employee
Whist the same principles apply as above, there are some additional factors to consider when paying an employee who is not a director. Firstly, if salary exceeds £833 per month (which equates to £10,000 per annum) then pension auto-enrolment duties will need to be considered. Secondly, the NI thresholds are divided evenly over the year, rather than being given on an accumulation basis, therefore if salary exceeds £823 per month in April, May, and June 2022 then Employee NI will be incurred. Therefore, ideally the annual salary to pay an employee should not exceed £9,880, but obviously there may be other factors that will influence how much you want or need to pay.
The rate of tax on dividends has also increased by 1.25% from 6 April 2022. For basic rate taxpayers this means the rate will now be 8.75% and for higher rate taxpayers it will be 33.75%.
The combined NI and income tax rates are significantly higher than the dividend tax rates, although paying dividends means you lose the corporation tax relief available on salary and will pay more corporation tax. However, once the minimum salary has been taken in the tax year, paying dividends is generally still more tax efficient than paying further salary, particularly if you are a basic rate taxpayer.
Note that to qualify for an NI credit for the year, for State Pension purposes, you only need to pay yourself a salary of at least £6,396.