Is it worth using dividends rather than net profit?
Yes. In some scenarios, it can be beneficial for the mortgage application to use dividend and salary income.
Scenario 1: Improved trading performance
The most common use case is where the company financial year or accounting period is not aligned with the fiscal or personal tax year (eg, April 6th 2021 to April 5th 2022).
For example, if your company year end is August 31st 2021, but your business performance has improved markedly since then and profits have increased.
The dividend income declared in your 21/22 self-assessment tax calculation could potentially be a lot higher than your share of net profit showing in the company's filed accounts.
Borrowing more using higher dividend payments
As most mortgage companies use a loan-to-income (LTI) ratio of around 4.5 times income for company director mortgages, this can make a huge difference to how much you can borrow.
For example, an increase in income of just £22,223 would mean you could potentially borrow an extra £100,000, subject to affordability assessment.
Scenario 2: Lenders who only consider salary and dividends
The other scenario is where the most suitable mortgage deal is with a bank or building society who only works off salary and dividends.
Most lenders tend to specify one type of income assessment, whether that be salary and dividends or salary and share of net profit. A few, more flexible lenders will consider either method.
The ideal situation therefore, is to have high enough earnings for the required mortgage loan, regardless of which form of income assessment is used.
Using net profit and salary
As the number of self-employed mortgage applicants has grown over the years, banks and building societies have become more flexible in their lending approach.
No longer can you only borrow against your salary and dividends. More mortgage companies than ever are happy to consider lending based on your salary and share of limited company net profits.
Can I borrow based solely off my latest years company net profit?
Yes, as well as your director's salary, some mortgage loan providers will use your share of the latest year's net profit figure after corporation tax. However, there's a couple of things to keep in mind...
Are increased profits sustainable?
First, where the latest years net profit is substantially higher (20-25%+) than the previous year, the lender may seek further information from your accountant to assure themselves the increase is sustainable and not simply due to one-off factors.
By the way most mortgage providers require your accountant to have a qualification from one of the recognised accountancy bodies such as the The Institute of Chartered Accountants (ACA/FCA) or The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA/FCCA).
Without a satisfactory explanation, the lender may decide to average the last two or three years figures instead, which could result in a lower maximum borrowing figure.
Do you own a large enough stake in the limited company?
Second, some banks and building societies only use net profit rather than dividends, where the director owns a minimum percentage of the limited company. Typically 50%. However not all lenders have this stipulation.
Do any mortgage lenders use the net profit figure before corporation tax?
Most mortgage providers only consider the net profit after corporation tax, plus the applicant's salary.
However, director's salary and share of pre-tax net profits can be considered. And as you'd expect, it can make a huge difference to the amount you can borrow.
Using pre-tax net profits with 2 years accounts
At present, these lenders take an average of income from the last 2 years trading figures. Only one provider will consider just your latest year's trading accounts, but only in exceptional circumstances.