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06 March, 2024

Recent Dividends Campaign – Insight From A UK Based Accountant

06 March, 2024

Navigating HMRC’s Recent Dividend Campaign: Insights from a UK Accountant

As a practicing accountant in the UK, my days are often filled with a variety of queries from clients concerning their finances, taxes, and, more recently, dividends. One call I received this week particularly stood out, highlighting a concern that I believe many small business owners and shareholders across the UK may currently share.

The question was straightforward but loaded with anxiety: “I’ve seen in the press that HMRC has launched a campaign for undeclared dividends. Am I affected?”

This question isn’t just a reflection of one client’s worry; it’s a window into the broader apprehensions faced by many in the wake of HMRC’s new initiatives. The campaign in question is indeed focused on ensuring that all dividends, whether from UK or foreign sources, are correctly declared and taxed. The concern among taxpayers is understandable, given the complexities of dividend taxation and the severe penalties for non-compliance.

The Essence of the Query

My client’s anxiety stemmed from a simple place of wanting to ensure they were on the right side of the law. They needed reassurance and clarity amidst the sea of tax regulations and the recent spotlight on dividend declarations by HMRC.

My Response

To their relief, my answer was a reassuring “No, you are not affected.” This response was based on our diligent work together, ensuring that all dividends drawn from their company had been accurately captured and declared. The only caveat, which I made clear, was the potential issue of third-party dividends. If my client had received dividends from sources outside their company, either from other UK entities or from abroad, then we would need to explore further to ensure compliance.

Fortunately, my client confirmed that their only source of dividend income was from their own company. This confirmation underscored an essential aspect of managing personal and business taxes: the importance of transparent and comprehensive communication between clients and their accountants.

A Broader Lesson with dividends

This interaction serves as a crucial reminder for all business owners and shareholders. With HMRC’s intensified focus on undeclared dividends, it’s more important than ever to maintain meticulous records and open lines of communication with your tax advisor. Here are a few takeaways for taxpayers in the UK:

  • Transparency is Key: Ensure your accountant is fully informed about all your sources of income, including any dividends from UK or foreign companies.
  • Understand the Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the tax obligations related to dividends, or consult with your accountant to understand how these might apply to you.
  • Keep Detailed Records: Maintain comprehensive records of all dividend income, which can be invaluable in ensuring compliance and facilitating any discussions with HMRC.
  • Stay Informed: Tax laws and regulations can change. Regularly check for updates or rely on your accountant to keep you informed about any changes that might affect your tax situation.


The recent campaign by HMRC on undeclared dividends is a wake-up call for many to review their tax affairs, ensuring that all income sources, especially dividends, are correctly declared. As accountants, it’s our role to guide our clients through these complexities, providing clarity and peace of mind. For business owners and shareholders, it’s a reminder of the importance of being proactive about tax compliance, safeguarding against potential issues before they arise.

Navigating the tax landscape can be daunting, but with the right advice and diligent practices, you can ensure that you’re not only compliant but also making the most of your financial decisions.