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At some point you will want to stop working in your business and either sell up and enjoy the rewards of your labours, or hand over the reins to your successors. It may not be top of your priority list right now, but exit planning is a vital part of your financial strategy and could make all the difference to your personal finances. Good planning will also help ensure a smooth transition for your business, once you are no longer involved.
Developing appropriate strategies at each stage of your business's lifecycle is crucial if you wish to obtain the maximum rewards for your efforts. Important issues to consider include:
If you consider your business has a market value, or if you are looking to your business to provide you with a lump sum on sale, it is important to start planning in advance, especially if you envisage realising the value of your business in the next 20 years. Selling your business is a major personal decision and it is very important to plan now if you want to maximise the net proceeds from its sale.
You will need to consider:
We can assist with these considerations.
Anyone who is considering buying your business will want to be clear about the underlying profitability trends. Are profits on the increase or declining?
Up-to-date management accounts and forecasts for the next 12 months and beyond will be close to the top of the list of the information which you will need to make available to prospective purchasers.
Historical profits drive the value attributable to many businesses, and therefore a rising trend in profitability should result in an increase in the business's value.
This means that profitability planning is particularly important in the years leading up to the sale. So, what is the range of values for your business?
A professional valuation will put you on more solid ground than educated guesswork. We can work with you to determine how you can add value to your business.
It is important to consider a number of factors when deciding on the best time to sell your business. These could be factors that may influence potential buyers as well as your own personal circumstances.
Personal factors to take into account might include:
Meanwhile, business questions to consider include:
Taxes are one of the less welcome, but inevitable, aspects of a business person's life. When you raise that final sales invoice and realise the proceeds from the sale of your business, you should be completing one of the last steps in a strategy aimed at maximising the net return by minimising the capital gains tax (CGT) on sale.
As a basic rule, CGT is charged on the difference between what you paid for an asset and what you receive when you sell it, less your annual CGT exemption if this has not been set against other gains. There are several other provisions, which may also need to be factored into the calculation of any CGT liability.
It is possible that reliefs can reduce a 28% CGT bill significantly. To maximise your net proceeds it is vital that you consult with us about the timing of a sale, and the CGT reliefs and exemptions to which you might be entitled.
The taxable gain is measured simply by comparing net proceeds with total cost (including costs of acquisition and enhancement expenditure). The rate of tax depends on your overall income and gains position for 2015/16. Gains will be taxed at 18% to the extent that your taxable income and gains fall within the upper limit of the income tax basic rate band and 28% thereafter.
A special tax relief, Entrepreneurs' Relief, is available for those in business, which may reduce the tax rate on the first £10m of qualifying lifetime gains to 10%. Generally, the relief will be available to individuals on the disposal (after at least one complete qualifying year) of:
All planned transactions require careful scrutiny to ensure that the available Entrepreneurs' Relief is maximised. Remember to keep us in the picture - we are best placed to help and advise if you involve us at an early stage.
CGT is normally only chargeable where the taxpayer is resident in the UK in the tax year the gain arose, though the provisions of any double taxation treaty need to be checked. CGT may be avoided on most assets, provided the taxpayer becomes non-UK resident before the disposal and remains non-resident for tax purposes for five complete tax years.
A non-resident is still liable to CGT if UK residential property is disposed of after 5 April 2015. The non-resident may have to report such a disposal within 30 days of conveyance of the property and may need to pay the CGT within the same 30 day period.
CGT and death - There is no liability to CGT on any asset appreciation at your death.
For the business owner, the vital elements in the IHT regime are the reliefs on business and agricultural property (up to 100%), which continue to afford exemption on the transfer of qualifying property, or a qualifying shareholding.
Remember to take into account your business interests when you draw up your Will. While reliefs may mean that there is little or no IHT to pay on your death, your Will is your route to directing the value of your business to your chosen heir(s) unless the disposition of your business interest on your death is covered by your partnership or shareholders' agreement.