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Employing your spouse or civil partner

The benefits of transferring income to your spouse or civil partner.

At Numera we can advise businesses in the London area on the possible tax advantages of employing your spouse or civil partner in the firm. Here is an overview of the issues.

When considering the overall tax position of your family, it is worth considering employing your spouse or civil partner in your business.

It is likely to show a tax saving if your spouse or civil partner has unused personal allowances or pays tax at a lower rate than you do.

The following points must be borne in mind:

  • the level of salary must be commercially justifiable
  • the salary must actually be paid to your spouse or civil partner (and therefore affordable for your business)
  • the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage regulations are likely to apply

As well as a salary, you may be able to pay contributions to a pension arrangement for your spouse or civil partner. These should not be taxable on your spouse or civil partner and should save you tax as a business expense.

All the above considerations apply equally to an unmarried partner or indeed to any other individual.

Administering a salary

If your spouse or civil partner has no other employment, a Starter Checklist (available from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/paye-starter-checklist) should be prepared with the Statement A (“This is my first job since last 6 April …”) ticked. You may then pay up to the Lower Earnings Limit for employees' national insurance (£120 per week for 2020/21) without any further formality.

If you already have a PAYE scheme for other employees, or don’t mind setting up a scheme for your spouse or civil partner, you should consider the following points:

  • a salary between £120 and £169 per week will protect an entitlement to basic state pension and other contributory benefits without incurring an actual national insurance liability
  • a salary between £169 and £962 per week is subject to employee’s national insurance at 12% and employer’s national insurance at 13.8%
  • the income tax position depends on your spouse or civil partner’s personal circumstances
  • the amount of salary exceeding £962 a week is subject to employee’s national insurance at 2% and employer’s national insurance at 13.8%, without upper limit
  • employee’s (but not employer’s) national insurance contributions stop when the employee reaches State Pension age.

Please give us a call if there are any points you would like to discuss.

If you are in the London area and are considering employing your spouse or civil partner in your business, Numera can advise you of the tax advantages and other implications.

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Company details

020 7794 5757

Numera, 4th Floor Charles House, 108-110 Finchley Road, London NW3 5JJ

Numera is a trading name of Numera Partners LLP | Company Registration No. OC365787 | Place of Registration: England & Wales | Registered to carry on audit work in the UK by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

About us

Numera is a newly established forward-thinking firm of chartered accountants, with over 25 years in experience of audit, accountancy, taxation and business advisory services.

We work with clients in a large variety of industries and sectors; from sole traders to multi-million pound turnover organisations. We aim to create and maintain a close relationship with our clients. By being so involved, we are able to identify opportunities for our clients as well as possible risks that our clients may be faced with.

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