My husband and I are British (domiciled) and moved to Singapore (SG) over 10 years ago to set up a graphic design company incorporated in SG. It is a limited company. We operate this from our home in SG using a registered office set up to meet local statutory requirements. All of the clients are SG registered companies meaning that trading takes place within the confines of SG.
We own 100% of the company (50/50 split) and do not have any employees, hence we are directors as well as shareholders.
We're considering returning home for various personal reasons and do not want to sell or close the business as it provides our living (aside from a UK home belonging to my husband that we're renting out). Our approximate combined income is GBP60,000 p.a. after personal tax (company profits are virtually non-existent as we take it as income). The rental income is done via HMRC self-assessment and is excluded from the calculation above.
I have the following questions if we become UK residents whilst operating the company:
1. Can we take a 50% dividend (say GBP30k each) on the SG company's profits and pay UK dividend tax only without falling foul of HMRC? Dividends for SG companies are tax exempt but i am fully aware that they attract UK tax.
2. If the above is likely to cause issues or be unfeasible, would it be best to set up a UK company or go self-employed. I realise there are NI considerations, PAYE etc. Note: I don't think our state pension outlook is good as we haven't been contributing NICs for many years now. We were in another non-EU country before this for 5 years.
3. I am aware there's a DTA between SG and the UK but I don't know how this would work in practice if we have to go down Q2 route, i.e. would the SG tax authorities deduct corporation tax and the UK company offset this?
Just to be clear that our intention is to carry out daily operations from the UK where we would be physically present year round. Before anyone suggests closing the SG company and opening a new company in the UK for ease, the key issue is that it wouldn't be practicable. We need to operate using the SG company because we rely on providing clients with credit terms, local invoicing, banking, etc.
I'd very much appreciate any advice because we want to make sure we're making the right decision financially amd want to realistically weigh up the pros and cons. Also, we want to make sure we're in compliance with HMRC and company law.