The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:
The use of service companies alongside partnerships / LLPs has become increasingly popular in recent years. This is largely due to the difference between personal income tax rates and corporation tax rates.
Typically, a service company will be a limited company run alongside a partnership. The share capital may be owned by the partners personally or as a partnership asset. There may be some advantages to holding share capital within the partnership, for example, an advantageous CGT treatment if there is a change in partnership sharing ratios. See the Capital gains of a partnership guidance note.
The service company typically provides a number of services to the partnership. This may include:
In return, the service company will be paid a fee by the partnership equal to the costs incurred plus an appropriate profit margin uplift, although this may well be affected by the transfer pricing legislation ― see below.
Alternatively, the service company could be a partner in the partnership. In this case, the fee would be paid by way of a priority profit share.
Cash flow is improved through the accumulation of profits at a lower rate of corporation tax. These accumulated profits can then be used to fund working capital or for future re-investment. See Example 1 for the potential benefits in this respect.
The level of benefit will depend upon the profit margin uplift and relevant tax rates but that benefit does come at the expense of the partners taking out income as drawings and an accumulation of profits in the service company.
Such expenses would be disallowable for both corporate and income tax
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