How Pensions Reduce Tax for Company Directors

  •  By
  •  Murray Humphrey

A pension is likely something at the very bottom of your priority list as a company director. But, pensions are actually hidden gems that are hugely tax advantageous for directors. Tax efficiency is a complicated thing, so we’ve simplified it to just four tax benefits of a pension that will have the biggest impact on your tax, finances and income.

The reference to tax benefits here applies to the tax year of 2023/24 which are subject to change in the future. And, tax treatment does depend on your individual circumstances.

Pension contributions are tax free

Contributions from your limited company into your pension are classed as a business expense. So, even though it goes into your pocket (your pension), you don't pay income tax or national insurance contributions. Whereas if you took this money as salary or dividends, these tax deductions would apply and reduce the total amount in your pocket.

Pension contributions reduce your tax bill

Because these contributions are an allowable business expense, they are tax deductible from your corporation tax bill. The rate of Corporation Tax you pay depends on how much profit your company makes:

  • 19% Small profits rate for companies with profits under £50,000
  • 25% Main rate for companies with profits over £250,000
  • You may be entitled to ‘Marginal Relief’ if your profits were between £50,000 and £250,000.

Learn more about tax rates and thresholds on Corporation Tax.

At 19%, if you paid £1,000 into your pension, your company will pay £190 less Corporation Tax in your tax bill. Therefore, you’ll also have £190 more in company profits, which you could potentially take out in dividends, salary or even pay into your pension!

Please know that, in order for your pension employer contributions to receive the tax benefits, they must be classed as an allowable deduction by HMRC whereby the contribution is ‘wholly and exclusively’ for the purpose of business.

Pensions give you more money

Because pension contributions are tax free, and they reduce your tax bill, contributing into a pension means you can take more out of your limited company, and therefore have more in your pocket overall.

Column chart showing tax relief for business pension contributions.

This graph shows how much money a director whose limited company makes a profit of £75,000 a year, can take out of their company in three different ways:

  • Not making any pension contributions
  • Making a £30,000 pension contribution from their limited company
  • Making a £60,000 pension contribution from their limited company

The graph assumes the director has paid themself a minimum salary of £9.1k so as not to incur national insurance or income tax. Corporation tax and Dividend tax at the appropriate rates has also been applied. All calculations are based on 2023/24 tax rates and thresholds. However, tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.

Make larger contributions than non-directors

For most people, pension contributions are capped at either their salary, or £60k whichever is lowest. As a company director, if you pay into your pension through your limited company you can contribute up to £60k each year, without the salary restriction, and still claim the 19% reduction on your corporation tax bill!

How Penfold helps company directors

Penfold is the digital pension provider designed for modern company directors. Join thousands of company directors saving into our Director pension:

  • Contribute to your pension with the flexibility you need - no commitments, minimums or restrictions
  • Set up in 5 minutes through our app or website - cancel in seconds if you don’t like us
  • Find and transfer old and lost pension pots collected over the years
  • Only one simple, fee: no hidden charges.

Learn more about our Director pension

A photo of Murray Humphrey

Murray Humphrey


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1. Get a Penfold account by registering your details online or with our app.

2. Transfer an existing pension, or make a one-off or recurring payment (pause or adjust any time).

Done! Check savings progress, change investment plan and more with our app or online dashboard.

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