How Limited Companies Can Save Tax Through the Employment Allowance

by | Sep 5, 2017

How Limited Companies Can Save Tax Through the Employment Allowance

The Employment Allowance reduces the amount of National Insurance employers have to pay by up to £3,000 per year. So, can your limited company take advantage of this tax incentive and save tax?

employment allowanceThe Basics

The scheme was implemented to help stimulate economic growth and encourage small firms to take on more employees.

By using the scheme, a company can write off the first £3,000 of its overall Employers’ NIC bill each year. The Allowance itself is ‘claimed’ each month via your firm’s payroll process, as the liability arises. So, no NICs are payable until your company’s entire £3,000 allowance has been used up.

The Government expects 450,000 small firms to benefit from the scheme, with around one-third of them paying no Employers’ NICs at all as a result.

Which businesses are ineligible?

  • You can only claim the Allowance if you pay Class 1 Employers’ National Insurance Contributions – as limited companies do.
  • The self-employed are ineligible, as they pay Class 2 and Class 4 Contributions.
  • You cannot claim if you provide services to a public-sector body.
  • If you are caught by IR35, the Allowance cannot be claimed against deemed payments (see below for an example).
  • Sole director companies with no additional employees will no longer be able to claim the Allowance. 

How can you benefit?

Importantly, you will only benefit from this Government measure if you pay yourself a high enough salary on which to incur and claim back Employers’ NICs. And, as your salary increases, your liability for income tax and Employees’ NICs rises, so there are several things to bear in mind when setting the ideal salary level.

The personal allowance (the amount you can earn before paying any income tax at all) is £11,500 from 6th April 2017, and you don’t pay any Employees’ NICs at all if your salary is £8,164 or less during the 2017/18 tax year (this is known as the ‘Primary Threshold’).

Employers’ National Insurance is payable on all salaries paid above the ‘Secondary Threshold’ of £8,164 per year, at a rate of 13.8%.

£11,500 salary – How the Employment Allowance works in practice

If your company is eligible, is it worth taking a £11,500 salary during the 2017/18 tax year, compared to taking £8,164?


£8,164 Salary
£11,500 Salary
Income Tax
Employers’ NICs
Nil (£460.37 refunded by EA)
Corporation Tax saved
Corporation Tax difference
Employees’ NICs
Net Saving
  • If you pay yourself a £11,500 salary, your company’s £460.37 Employers’ NI bill will be refunded thanks to the EA.
  • No Income Tax is payable on either salary, as the Personal Allowance for 2017/18 is £11,500.
  • By paying yourself £3,336 more than the £8,164 salary level, your company also saves £633.84 in Corporation Tax.
  • However, you also have an additional Employees’ NI bill to pay of £400.32.
  • So, you will be better off to the tune of £233.52 by taking a £11,500 salary in 2017/18, compared to a £8,164 salary, assuming your company is eligible to claim the EA.
  • We have assumed in these examples that your total income is less than £100,000, as the £11,500 personal allowance is eroded by £1 for every £2 you earn above £100,000.
  • The EA is claimed by your company for the relevant tax year. We can help with this by doing your company’s payroll. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss this on 0330 403 0010 or book here

At GrowFactor, we only use online cloud accounting systems. This means that we can ensure that obtaining real-time and accurate financial information on your business will be at your fingertips and this makes tax planning and making strategic decisions so much easier.

[Read Why Your Small Business Should Move to Cloud Accounting].

Ensure you are being as tax efficient as possible by downloading GrowFactor’s free A-Z guide of common business costs and expenses for Limited Companies. This guide is designed to answer the questions small business owners have regarding – what expenses can I claim through a limited company? 

Get FREE TAX Review

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