Employing your spouse

The benefits of transferring income to your spouse.

At Ling Phipp we can advise businesses in the Nottingham area on the possible tax advantages of employing your spouse 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 in your business.

This is a means of transferring income from you to your spouse. It is likely to show a tax saving if your spouse has unused personal allowances or pays tax at a lower rate than you do.

In order to justify a salary, 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 (and therefore affordable for you)
  • the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage regulations are likely to apply

As well as a salary, you may be able to pay premiums for a special pension arrangement for your spouse. These should not be taxable on your spouse 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 has no other employment, a 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 Primary Threshold for employees' national insurance (£157 per week for 2017/18 ) 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, you should consider the following points:

  • a salary between £113 and £157 per week will protect an entitlement to basic state pension and other contributory benefits without incurring an actual national insurance liability
  • a salary between £157 and £866 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's personal circumstances
  • the amount of salary exceeding £866 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 Nottingham area and are considering employing your spouse in your business, Ling Phipp can advise you of the tax advantages and other implications.

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About us

Ling Phipp was founded in 1974 and nowadays has two partners, five managers plus trainees and support staff.

We serve clients in the East Midlands and all over the UK. Our out-of-town location, with easy parking, close to the M1 junction 25 (Nottingham/Derby - A52), is very convenient.

Company details

0115 949 6838

Ling Phipp, Cliffe Hill House, 22-26 Nottingham Road, Stapleford, Nottingham NG9 8AA


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Registered to carry on audit work in the UK and Ireland and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Details about our audit registration can be viewed at www.auditregister.org.uk, under reference number 6424855. This is the firm number provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.