How to make sure your business sale rewards you – and not the tax man.
1. Structure your sale price to make the most of entrepreneur’s relief or reinvestment relief for capital gains tax purposes.
2. Apply for any necessary clearances to avoid capital gains tax becoming income tax or corporate tax if any form of reconstruction of business structure is anticipated.
3. Maximise pension contributions to pass value tax efficiently, and reduce value of business asset for tax purposes.
4. Make sure your family is protected in the event of death or long-term illness or disability by using appropriate insurance to enable the business to be passed on at full value.
5. Make use of inheritance-tax exemptions (particularly business property relief) to pass value to next generation.
6. Trusts can play an important part in passing on assets tax efficiently and protecting assets from passing to unintended relatives.
7. Use LLPs to pass business to future generations and preserve the ability to relieve tax losses (should these arise) against other income.
8. Make sure you have a will and that this is up to date and correctly reflects your wishes.
9. Make use of appropriate professional advice in all matters. Poorly drafted documents or inaccurate advice can cost dearly.
10. Tax avoidance schemes may sound attractive, but must now be disclosed to HMRC and are not immune from attack. Nothing would be worse than HMRC reopening your tax affairs years after you thought they were finalised.
Stephen Walklett is director of McCarthy Taylor Consulting.