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How can I legally take money out of my limited company?

15th March, 2023
Robert Moore

Written ByRobert Moore

Marketing Manager


Rob has over a decade of experience in web and general marketing. He has extensive knowledge of the Insolvency sector and has helped many worried directors with their questions.

Rob is now working with the Board at KSA Group Ltd to develop strategic marketing programmes to support the business plan and drive more company rescues.

Robert Moore
  • How can money be taken out of a company legally?
  • Directors Loans
  • Directors Salary Through PAYE
  • What if the company is struggling?

When you set up your limited company, you may think you can dip into your company’s monies, as and when you like, as it is your cash!  Unfortunately, this approach is wrong and can often lead to financial problems for directors of troubled companies.

When a limited company is incorporated at Companies House, it becomes a legal entity in its own right.  This means the assets and profits belong to the company rather than the owners or shareholders. So, you are not able to take money out of the business in the same way that a sole trader can.  Sole traders are, effectively, the business so it is their money and their debts. Limited liability is one of the main benefits of forming a company, as directors are not automatically personally liable for the debts of the company, as is the case for a sole trader or partnership.

Although it may sound like we are being pedantic, most small company directors need to stop merging the company and themselves together in their minds. This is plain wrong.

You as a person, when acting as a director are NOT the company! As a designated member you are not the limited liability partnership either. You are an ‘officer of the company’.

Likewise, the company assets and company debts are not (generally) yours personally either. So, it is vital to recognise that there are four parts or “constituencies”, to every limited company.

It is important to separate these constituencies:

  1. The Company
  2. The Business
  3. The Directors
  4. The Shareholders or Members

The COMPANY is a legally recognised entity that you can set up to run your BUSINESS. It is responsible in its own right for everything it does and its finances are separate to the DIRECTORS OR SHAREHOLDERS personal finances.

Any profit it makes is owned by the company, NOT BY THE DIRECTORS (after corporation tax). The company can then share its profits with the SHAREHOLDERS/MEMBERS if the directors decide it is appropriate to do so. This is not the same as directors’ wages or salary.

NB any profit the company makes is NOT DIRECTLY YOURS as a director or employee.

How can money be taken out of a company legally?

There are three ways in which money can be taken out of a limited company.

  1. Dividends
  2. Director’s loan
  3. Director’s salary, expenses and benefits

If you use these methods in combination, this may be a tax efficient way to minimise personal tax liabilities and run a business. Corporation tax is only 19% (but announced in The Spring Budget 2023 that it will rise to 25% on taxable business profits after £250,000 from April 2023), compared to income tax at 25-45%, but taking money out of a company in the form of dividends is subject to income tax AFTER corporation tax has been paid. There is no way to escaping paying tax completely, but the situation you are in can determine if you can benefit from more or less tax efficient methods.


Directors tend to be shareholders in profitable companies who pay taxes and have a cash buffer. When this is the case, dividends are able to be distributed as a means of taking out income, from retained profits (or that buffer).  Corporation tax is deducted first.

However, for dividends over £2,000 pa shareholders have to pay income tax depend upon the rate of tax they normally pay – for example the web site explains


Tax yearDividend allowance
6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023£2,000
6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022£2,000
6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021£2,000
6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019£2,000


Working out tax on dividends above your allowance

The tax you pay depends on which Income Tax band you’re in, as per below.

Please note, as of April 2022, the tax on dividend income will increase by 1.25% to help support the NHS and social care

Tax bandTax rate on dividends over your allowance
Basic rate7.5%
Higher rate32.5%
Additional rate38.1%

Add your income from dividends to your other taxable income to work out your tax band. You may pay tax at more than one rate.

Dividends that fall within your Personal Allowance do not count towards your dividend allowance.


You get £3,000 in dividends in the 2020 to 2021 tax year. The dividend allowance is £2,000, so this means you pay tax on £1,000 of your dividends.

Your other taxable income is £35,000. Add this to your dividends of £3,000 and your total taxable income is £38,000.

You pay a rate of 7.5% on £1,000 of dividends because your total taxable income is within the basic tax band.

KSA is not a tax advisor. You should take advice from tax experts before doing this.

Directors Loans

This method can be efficient so long it is handled correctly. A director’s loan account records all of the transactions, between a director and the company itself. The account balance can be ‘in credit’, if the director has paid more into the company than taken out, or ‘overdrawn’, if the director withdraws more than paid in.

All transactions in the director’s loan account should be accounted for in the company’s balance sheet and included in the company tax return and director’s self-assessment return. Generally, when directors have overdrawn loan accounts, they do not have to pay tax, so long that the sum is repaid to the company within 9 months and one day of the accounts reference date. If the directors loan account is overdrawn by more than £10,000 the sum has to be declared on the director’s self-assessment tax return with the appropriate amount of tax. You should take advice from tax experts before doing this.

Beware of repaying loans you have made to an insolvent company, this could be a breach of s239 Insolvency Act 1986. Speak to us for guidance on this “preference “risk


Directors Salary Through PAYE

This tends to be the most obvious method; directors pay themselves a salary. As well as this, expenses and bonus payments can be taken out.  Directors must ensure they are employed as an employee of their company and their salary is paid via PAYE. Not all directors will take a large salary – some prefer a smaller salary and taking a larger share of their pay in dividends instead. You should take advice from tax experts before doing this.

If an employee makes personal use of a company asset, such as property or a car, this should be reported as a benefit in kind, with any tax paid. All company directors have to prepare a tax return under Self-Assessment rules.

A salary up to the NIC threshold can be taken out tax free. So, no income tax or NIC needs paying but eligibility for the state pension will remain. Alternatively, a salary equivalent to the personal allowance level of £12,500 can be taken. No income tax needs paying, however a class 1 National Insurance contribution of 12% will need deducting from salaries between £8,632 and £12,500. You should take advice from tax experts before doing this.

What if the company is struggling?

If you cannot pay your WRONG the company cannot its taxes or creditors, the company may not be viable. In these cases, drawings should not be taken. If they are taken under these circumstances, the directors are just building up a negative balance which will need repaying if the company becomes insolvent and enters liquidationpre-pack administration or company voluntary arrangement. The problem will not go away either – so don’t think you can just bury your head in the sand. HMRC may start to investigate and penalties may be charged.  If the company goes into liquidation then you are a debtor of the company and the liquidator will be able to recover money from you and go after you personally.  If you have taken out excessive amounts or acted badly then you may be disqualified as a director as well.

A word of warning.

Remember that accountants will often advise you to take out dividends as they are tax efficient.  However, if you don’t talk to them regularly or they are just involved in the year end accounts they are not duty bound to tell you to stop if the company starts making big losses.  The direct debit into your own bank account could just carry on storing up problems for you in the future.

What if I want to close the company and take the money out?

Finally, if the company has no further use and you wish to close it but it has money and assets, then the correct way to do this, if the assets are more than £25,000, is via a Members Voluntary Liquidation.

If you are in need of some professional, helpful advice or a discussion regarding repaying overdrawn loans, restructuring your company to boost financial performance, being chased by HMRC, or even unable to take any money from your company due to a lack of profit…call us today 0800 970 0539

Worried Director What Will Happen To Me After Liquidation?

in Company Liquidation What is …?

"A man in the pub said I cannot be a director of any other company if I liquidate my company. Is this true?"Actually, this statement is entirely false! Misconceptions like this frequently arise from individuals with limited understanding of the subject matter. Such misinformation can cause undue anxiety for directors considering liquidation, fearing it might personally affect them. Guess what? Listening to bar room experts, inexperienced accountants, or no insolvency specialist lawyers can stop decisions being made, this failure to make a decision is really what could land you in trouble. So how will liquidation affect me and how long does it take? Having a limited liability company means that the directors have little risk (or limited liability) if the company fails, as long as they have acted properly and acted in time. What is more, if as a director, you have been compliant and on the payroll for many years, you can actually claim redundancy from the government like any other employee. But, and it is a big but, if you fail to act in time, fail to act reasonably, fail to keep books and records, continue taking credit KNOWING that the company cannot possibly repay it, then you ARE at risk of personal financial loss or worse such as losing your house. So, act now and get help for your company and more importantly start reducing your own risks.Voluntary liquidation is the quickest most efficient way to deal with an insolvent company that has no future. As a director of an insolvent company, you are at risk if you do not act. This risk RISES the longer you don't act to put the company into liquidation.If you fail to act and the company is wound up by the creditors (compulsory liquidation) then the Official Receiver (OR) will be appointed to liquidate the business and he or she will investigate the activity of the directors and the business over the last 2-3 years. This is known as a conduct report on each director.  If the OR can prove there was wrongful trading where, for instance, you have taken credit from a supplier or took deposits from customers when you knew that it was highly unlikely that you could pay them back, then you could be made personally liable.This is known as the "lifting of the veil of incorporation" that protects directors under limited liability. If this happens then you could made liable for PAYE, VAT and creditors monies from the time that you should have known the company had no reasonable prospect of surviving the problems it faced.Additionally, the directors may face disqualification proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 for up to 15 years, they can be fined and may face the loss of personal assets like your home, or even personal bankruptcy.Look, if you as directors have acted naively you may not know that you have broken these laws, but now you do know, it is vital to ensure that you protect yourself as a director by acting quickly to cease trading and put the company into voluntary liquidation; or consider a company voluntary arrangement if the company is VIABLE if the problems are solved. What is Creditors Voluntary Liquidation and what does it mean for me? In short, liquidation usually means, the company's trading stops and it's assets are turned into cash or "liquidated".All other possible liabilities, like employment liabilities, landlord's rent or payments to lease companies are stopped. It really is the end of the company, but the "business" may survive if a phoenix is organised. Liquidation is a powerful way to END creditor pressure and let you get on with your life. What if I have signed personal guarantees? If you have signed personal guarantees or indemnities to lenders, then the liquidation could lead to them being called in if the bank cannot get its money back from the company. There is little that can be done about that, but you should not delay decisions on liquidation to try and prevent a PG being called in: just think what ALL of the company's debts landing on your shoulders would do. Also it should be noted that HMRC now rank ahead of floating charge holders in any liquidation since December 2020.  Consequently, this may well mean that lenders that you have personally guaranteed will get less recovery hence exposing you more.All banks will agree a deal to repay the PG over time - provided you work with the bank to reduce their exposure.One great piece of FREE advice - always make sure that ALL tax returns, VAT returns and annual returns have been completed and sent in and that other "compliance" issues are dealt with wherever possible. These are important processes and will help protect you as individual directors. It shows that you have been acting properly.  I have heard about directors being able to claim redundancy in liquidation If you have been employed by the company and made payments via PAYE then you will be able to claim redundancy from the government and this is in fact a very simple process (20 minutes to fill out a form and we can help with that) so there is no need really to employ a third party to make a claim.  This process has been open to fraud so the HMRC are cracking down on operators that claim to be able to get money back when there is not enough "paperwork".  It isn't worth the risk.  If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!You need to learn more about the options. This is clearly a general guide so, if you have any worries at all, please, just call us and we will talk you through the situation free and with expert guidance for your situation. Call one of our advisors or if you prefer, call our IPs (insolvency practitioners) now:Just one CALL will help relieve the stress and get you out of the mess.Why not call 08009700539 or 020 7887 2667 now?We could help you start the liquidation process today.(8.15am till 5.00pm; Out of hours call on 07833 240747, Wayne Harrison (IP)  or Eric Walls (IP) on 07787 278527)Finally, please remember this: NO BUSINESS is worth losing your health, relationships, marriages or your children over. Act properly, take advice, get the problem sorted and then get on with your life. In a little while the stress will go and you can focus on other things that are more important.Want more information on liquidation? Get our new free 2023 Experts Complete Guide to Creditors Voluntary Liquidation that covers Bounce Back LoansWe are experts in liquidation, voluntary liquidation, administration, pre-pack administration, business rescue, corporate rescue and company rescue, we can help solve your problems but only if you talk to us. Call 0800 9700539 for help.or email us your worries at 

Worried Director What Will Happen To Me After Liquidation?

Notice of Intention To Appoint Administrators

A notice of intention to appoint administrators is when the company files a document to the court to outline that it intends to go into administration if a solution cannot be found to its immediate financial problems. It can be used as part of the pre-pack administration process as well as used to restructure a failing business to avoid its liquidation.

Notice of Intention To Appoint Administrators
Man with umbrella

What Is A Winding Up Petition By HMRC or Other Creditor

A winding up petition is a legal notice put forward to the court by a creditor. The creditor petitions to the court if they are owed more than £750 and it has not been paid for more than 21 days. The application, in effect, asks the court to liquidate the company as they believe the company is insolvent.

What Is A Winding Up Petition By HMRC or Other Creditor

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