What’s changing for directors/major shareholders in 2023?
Various regulations for directors/major shareholders have also changed this year, as we outline below.
Customary salary rule
As a director/major shareholder, you are expected to receive a salary that is normal for the level and duration of your role. This is known as the customary salary rule and means you should receive pay at least equal to that of someone in a comparable position. Your salary should also be at least equal to the top salary paid to an employee in your company or a business associated with your company. The standard amount applying under the customary salary rule in 2023 has increased to €51,000 (previously: €48,000). No maximum salary applies.
Dividends are taxed in box 2. In 2023, you’ll pay income tax of 26.9% on any dividends you receive. From 2023, the income tax rate on the first €67,000 of income in box 2 will go down to 24.5%. But the rate applying to amounts above that threshold will rise to 31%.
Income from a substantial shareholding (box 2) is treated as part of tax partners’ joint income. If you and your tax partner divide your dividend income equally, you’ll pay the lower rate of tax on the first €134,000 of income in box 2.
Costs of a car
If you buy or lease a car, you can deduct the VAT payable on the purchase or lease costs, as well as the costs of running and maintaining the car, providing you use it to generate taxed revenue. But if you own or lease a car and also use it for private purposes, you are not allowed to deduct the VAT applying to the private use (e.g. travelling to and from work).
If you use the car for no more than 500 kilometres of private travel a year, the tax authorities see the car as a business asset. You then have to put the car on your balance sheet and can deduct the costs of it from profits. If you drive more than 500 kilometres a year, you can choose whether to treat the car as a private or a business asset.
If you use your private car for business travel, you can deduct €0.21 per kilometre from your profits. If the car is on your company’s balance sheet, you can deduct the costs of the car from profits. But you should then deduct the costs of any private travel from the total costs charged to the company. If you use the company car for business purposes only, you must prove this by keeping a record of the kilometres driven.
Each year you are allowed to give tax-free gifts for up to a certain amount. In 2023, you can, for example, give each of your children up to €6,035 free of tax. For the tax authorities, ‘children’ also include foster children and stepchildren. The annual amount you are allowed to gift to other people in 2023 is €2,418 (2022: €2,274).
Payroll tax returns
Limited companies with one or more directors/major shareholders can submit payroll tax returns for tax periods that have not yet started. Although the tax authorities normally reject returns submitted before the start of the relevant period, there are two exceptions to this rule:
- If the only people working in the business are directors/major shareholders (and possibly their spouses and children) and the company has no other employees;
- If the director/major shareholder is not covered by the employee social security schemes.
In those circumstances, the tax authorities will just check the return to see whether it can be technically processed and will then put it in a hold file. The return will then be processed after the relevant period starts. But if the return is incorrect and the relevant period has not yet expired, you cannot simply send notification of an adjustment. Instead, you will have to resubmit the full return.