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Company income tax, dividend and dividend tax for limited liability companies in Denmark

Limited liability companies in Denmark pay company income tax on their taxable profits. The company income tax in Denmark is 22% for limited liability companies (2021). After the company income tax is paid, the company can choose to distribute the remaining profits as dividends to the shareholders. The dividend tax is 0%, 27% or 42% when paid to the shareholders (2021) depending on how much dividend that is distributed and to who. Holding companies does not pay dividend tax in Denmark, when they own 10% or more of the company.

Company income tax, dividend and dividend tax for limited liability companies in Denmark

(Last update: 2.1.2021)

Relevant tax rates and limits used in this blog

DESCRIPTION Year 2019 Year 2020 Year 2021
Company income tax rate 22% 22% 22%
Dividend tax: holding companies owning 10% or more 0% 0% 0%
Dividend tax: This is the low tax rate when the dividend is below the limit 27% 27% 27%
Dividend tax: This is the high tax rate when the dividend is above the limit 42% 42% 42%
Dividend tax: Limit where the low tax rate changes to the high tax rate, unmarried 52.900 DKK 55.300 DKK 56.500 DKK
Dividend tax: Limit where the low tax rate changes to the high tax rate, married 105.800 DKK 110.600 DKK 113.000 DKK
Maximum tax bracket (“topskat”): Limit before ATP og AM-contribution is deducted 559.179 DKK 578.309 DKK 593.309 DKK
Maximum tax bracket (“topskat”): Limit after ATP og AM-contribution is deducted 513.400 DKK 531.000 DKK 544.800 DKK
Maximum tax rate (“topskat”) 15% 15% 15%
ATP: Employees own contribution 1.135,80 DKK per year 1.135,80 DKK per year 1.135,80 DKK per year


Relevant deadlines used in this blog

DESCRIPTION DEADLINE
Deadline for submitting the annual report 5 months after the fiscal year ends
Deadline for submitting the tax return 6 months after the fiscal year ends
Deadline for paying dividend tax 10 days following the month where the decision to distribute the dividend was made
Deadline for paying company income tax instalment 1 (ordinary instalment) 20 March
Deadline for paying company income tax instalment 2 (ordinary instalment) 20 November
Deadline for paying company income tax instalment 3 (voluntary instalment) 1 February in the fiscal year following the end of the fiscal year


Company income tax

Limited liability companies in Denmark pay company income tax on their profits.

The company income tax is 22% (2021).



How to calculate the taxable company income?

The taxable company income is calculated by taking the company’s sales and deducting the company’s costs.

This amount is called the “result before tax”.

It is the same result that you can see in your accounting reports – e.g. by printing a profit and loss statement in e-conomic (or in the accounting program you use).

When you know the result before tax, then your accountant/auditor need to make some tax adjustments, and he/she can then calculate the taxable company income.

The “taxable company income” is always a little different than the “result before tax” that you can see in the accounting system.

The tax adjustments that are made are primarily regarding depreciation as well as certain types of expenses that cannot be deducted in tax in full – or where the deduction in tax may be higher than what you have deducted in your accounting.

The taxable company income is declared on the company’s tax return annually.

The deadline for declaring the company’s taxable income is 6 months from the end of the fiscal year.


Does a company pay company income tax if there is a deficit in the taxable company income?

If the taxable company income is 0 DKK, then no company income tax is paid.


Deficits can be brought forward

A deficit in the taxable income can be brought forward to future years, where it can be offset in taxable company income profits before the company needs to pay company income tax.

Example:

If the company has a deficit in the taxable company income of 100.000 DKK in 2020, and a taxable company income profit in 2021 of 100.000 DKK, then the company can offset the deficit it had in 2020 so that the taxable company income in 2021 is 0 DKK (100.000 DKK profit in 2021 – 100.000 DKK deficit in 2020 = 0 DKK in taxable profits).

Then no company income tax is to be paid in neither 2020 or 2021.

On the tax office website SKAT Erhverv, a register of deficits is maintained, showing what deficits that have already been offset in profits and what to offset in future profits.


What is a dividend?

A dividend is a part of the profit that is passed on to the owners of the company.

This is called:

– To pay a dividend
– To distribute a dividend

The company does not have to pay a dividend to the owners of the company if there has been a profit.

However, if there is a lot of money in the company, then it can often make sense to do this.

Furthermore, if you both own the company and are employed by the company as a director with salary, there may be a tax gain for you by paying yourself a dividend also (read more below).


What amounts can be distributed as dividends?

The company can distribute reserves as dividends to the shareholders.

Reserves are basically profit after company income tax is paid, that is accumulated in the company.


When can a dividend be distributed?

When a company has had a profit, then dividends can be distributed to the shareholders.


How to distribute a dividend?

A dividend must always be approved at a general meeting.

There are 2 types of general meetings.


The ordinary general meeting:

This is where the shareholders approve the annual report, and this is also where the shareholders can decide that a dividend must be distributed to the shareholders on the basis of the result they have just approved.

The ordinary general meeting is held once per year.


The extraordinary general Meeting:

An extraordinary general meeting can be held during the year if there are some important decisions that cannot wait until the ordinary general meeting.

These may be changes to the management, new auditor etc. – but this also applies to the distribution of dividends for the current year.


Dividends and dividend tax must be declared to the danish tax office

The decision to distribute a dividend is recorded in the minutes of the general meeting.

The dividend and the dividend tax are then reported to the Danish tax office on SKAT Erhverv.


Distribution of dividends in the first fiscal year

It is not allowed to distribute dividends during the first fiscal year.

Only after the fiscal year has ended, and when the annual report has been approved at the annual general assembly meeting, then a dividend can be distributed.

The distributed dividend and dividend tax have to be declared to the tax office.


Distribution of dividends in the second fiscal year and later

During the second fiscal year, it is allowed to distribute dividends during the year also, as long as the dividends are approved at an extraordinary general meeting.


Distribution of dividends to physical persons

Dividend tax needs to paid when dividends are distributed to shareholders which are physical persons.

The first 56.500 DKK (2021) is taxed with 27% in dividend tax.

If the dividend exceeds 56.500 DKK (2021), then the dividend tax is 42% on everything exceeding the 56.500 DKK (2021).

If the shareholder is married, then the limit where the dividend tax changes from 27% to 42% is 113.000 DKK (2021).

The company need to withhold the 27% dividend tax from the distributed dividend and pay this dividend tax directly to the tax office.

Both the dividend and the dividend tax is declared on SKAT Erhverv, which is the tax office website.

The dividend tax is due for payment in the following month on the 10th day.

The company use the payment details for “Skattekontoen” to pay the dividend tax.

The payment ID is shown when submitting the declaration of the dividend and dividend tax.

The remaining tax, if the shareholder also needs to pay 42% dividend tax on amounts exceeding 56.500 DKK (2021), is paid by the shareholder to the tax office.

This can be done either as a pre-payment on the self-assessment for the year or on the annual tax summary.


Distribution of dividends to holding companies

Holding companies that own more than 10% of a company, does not have to pay dividend tax.



Payment of company income tax

Company income tax is due for payment 20 March and 20 November each year.

We call this for the “ordinary company income tax payments”.

These 2 payments will naturally be based upon an estimate since nobody knows the actual profit before the year has ended.

In addition to these 2 payments, there is an optional extra third payment on the 1st of February, in the year after the fiscal year ends.

This enables the company to adjust the payments of company income tax, once the accounting is done for the fiscal year that has ended. By paying more company income tax here, the company can save money on later interests for late payment of company income tax.

We call this third payment for the “voluntary company income tax payment”.

If you have a limited liability company, then the first time you receive a letter from the tax office about having to pay company income tax, then it will almost always state, that the tax office has estimated, that the company should pay 0 DKK in company income tax.

This is because the tax office doesn’t know yet, how much the company is supposed to pay, so they’ll send a letter, informing you that these ordinary company income payments are due in March and November, but they won’t state the payable amount;

Your accountant/auditor can help you estimate the ordinary company income tax payments.


How do you estimate the company income tax instalments?

Let’s say you’re in the month of January, and you already know, that you are going to have a profit this year.

Start making an estimate of the profit for the entire year, as precisely as you can.

Then calculate 22% of the estimated profit and divide this by two – this will be the 2 payments of ordinary company income tax due for payment 20 March and 20 November.

You can always change the instalments of company income tax on the tax office website “SKAT Erhverv”.

Here you will also find the payment details for your internet bank.

If the amount you end up estimating isn’t precise, then it’s no big deal, because when the year is finished, you’re required anyway to make an annual report and submit a tax return with the correct amount.

Then in the following year, you’ll pay the remaining tax or receive a refund, depending on whether you over-or underestimated your payments.

Annual reports need to be submitted 5 months after the fiscal year has ended.

Company tax declarations need to be submitted 6 months after the fiscal year has ended.

The tax statement is received in November, in the same year the tax declaration is submitted.

If there is any remaining company income tax due for payment, then it needs to be paid 20 November the same year.


Deadlines

Annual reports must be submitted to the Danish Business Authority on VIRK no later than 5 months after the end of the fiscal year.

Tax returns must be submitted to the Danish tax office on SKAT Erhverv no later than 6 months after the end of the fiscal year.

Dividend tax must be declared and paid no later than on the 10th day of the month following the decision to distribute the dividend.


When does the company receive the annual tax summary?

The annual tax summary is received in the e-Boks in November following the end of the fiscal year.


When does the company have to pay additional company income tax not covered by the ordinary and voluntary payments?

Additional company income tax not covered by the ordinary and voluntary payments is paid in November following the end of the fiscal year.


Payment of company income tax in the first fiscal year – when the fiscal year ends 31.12

Limited liability companies don’t necessarily have to follow the calendar year.

They’re allowed to have a split year, which means you may have up to 18 months in your first fiscal year.

For instance, if you start the company on 1 July 2019, then your first year can run from 1 July 2019 to 31 December 2020, which is 18 months.

Another option is for the first year to end on 31 December 2019.

It’s completely up to you, but the maximum is 18 months in the first fiscal year.

The following fiscal years will always be 12 months.

If you choose to have 18 months in the first year, then the tax gets more complicated.

You will then have a partial payment on November 20th in the first year and also in March and November in the second year (all payments belonging to the first fiscal year).

The fiscal year has to be finished before we submit the tax declaration, so in this example with an 18-month fiscal year, then the fiscal year would start on 1 July 2019 and finish on 31 December 2020, after which the tax declaration would be submitted on June 30th 2021.

Company income taxes are declared 6 months after the fiscal year ends.

In this example with an 18 months fiscal year, after we submit the tax declaration on June 30th 2021, then the tax office will calculate the actual company income tax, which will be 22% of the taxable profit (2019), plus some interest.

This tax will be due on 20 November 2021, and any tax you might already have paid in November (first year) and March and November (second year), will be offset in the total company income tax due.

You’ll receive an annual company income tax statement that will show all this information, including your profit from 1 July 2019 to 31 December 2020, as well as the 22% in company tax and added late fee interest, which is around 4% (2019).

You can also receive a company income tax refund.

This happens if you paid too much in company income tax.


Payment of company income tax in the first fiscal year – when the fiscal year does not end 31.12

A company can decide when they’d like their fiscal year to end, but only 10% of our clients choose something other than the calendar year. Most companies choose 31 December, because it’s easier to produce an annual overview if it follows the calendar year.

But some people prefer ending the year on 30 June or 31 January.

For those who do not follow the calendar year, the company income tax can get tricky.

Let’s assume that you have June 30th as the end of your fiscal year, for example.

You’re still allowed to have 18 months in your first fiscal year, but if you start a company on 1 July 2020, and your fiscal year ends on 30 June 2021, then your first fiscal year will only be 12 months.

The partial company income tax payments make this a bit complicated.

In the first year, 2020, as is normal, that you most likely will not pay anything in November.

Then in 2021, you’ll make a partial payment in March, and even though the year finishes on 30 June 2021, the partial payment you make in November 2021, still counts toward your first fiscal year, despite being paid after the first fiscal year has finished.

One advantage of this is you can avoid paying interest, because you have more time to calculate the correct profit, from which you can calculate exactly how much you must pay in additional tax for the last instalment on November 2021.


Joint taxation

If your company is owned by another company with more than 50%, e.g. via a holding company, then you will need to apply what is called “joint taxation”.

In joint taxation, it is the owner (who owns more than 50%), called the management company, who must manage the payment of the company income tax to the Danish Tax Office.

The management company instead collects the company tax from the company.

The company income tax collected by the management company from the company is called the “joint taxation contribution”.

The joint taxation contribution corresponds to the company income tax that the company must pay on its taxable profits.


Payment of dividend tax

Dividend tax must be paid on the 10th of the month following the decision to distribute the dividend.

Once you have declared the dividend and dividend tax on SKAT Erhverv, the dividend tax will appear on the “Skattekonto” when due for payment.

You pay the dividend tax with the payment ID that appears on the confirmation when submitting the declaration.


If your company is owned by a holding company

If you have a profit in your limited liability company, and you want to transfer this profit to your holding company, then it comes down to how many shares your holding company owns, if the holding company will need to pay dividend tax or not.

If your holding company own 10% or more than 10% of the shares of the company, then the company is allowed to distribute the dividend to the holding company without withholding dividend tax.


Why would you transfer a dividend to the holding company?

By transferring the profit from the company to the holding company, then creditors will not be able to claim this money later if something was to go wrong.

This is because the money has been paid out as a dividend to the holding company.

When the money is paid to the holding company, then you can use it for new investments, or just hold it there for safety purposes.

The tax office can in some situations claim the money again from the holding company, if f.ex. employee taxes are unpaid in the company (but this requires a 50% or more shareholder stake by the holding company).


How can you get money from the company as a sole shareholder and director?

If you are the sole shareholder and director, then you are also allowed to pay money to yourself.

There are two ways you can do this:


1: Salary

You can be hired as the director in the company, even though you are also the shareholder, and then receive a salary for the work you have performed.


2: Dividend

You can receive a dividend from the company if there is a profit after the company income tax is paid.

Dividends up to 56.500 DKK are taxed at 27% (2021).

Dividends exceeding 56.500 DKK is taxed at 42% (2021).

If you are married then a double limit of 113.000 DK apply (2021).


Examples on calculation of dividend tax and total taxes

If the company income tax is 22%, and dividends up to 56.500 DKK is taxed at 27% (2021), and dividends exceeding 56.500 DKK is taxed at 42% (2021), then the calculation looks like this:


Dividend paid: 50.000 DKK

In order to pay the dividend, then the company already had to pay 22% in company income tax.

The 22% company income tax is 14.102 DKK (profit before tax: 64.102 DKK – company income tax of 22%: 14.102 DKK = the remaining amount is 50.000 DKK, which then can be paid as a dividend).

You then need to pay an additional 27% in dividend tax from the 50.000 DKK. This will be: 13.500 DKK

In total you will have paid the following taxes: 14.102 DKK (22% company income tax) + 13.500 DKK (dividend tax) = 27.602 DKK in company income tax and dividend tax – or what equals 43,06% of the 64.102 DKK profit before tax.


Dividend paid: 100.000 DKK

In order to pay the dividend, then the company already had to pay 22% in company income tax.

The 22% company income tax is 28.205 DKK (profit before tax: 128.205 DKK – company income tax of 22%: 28.205 DKK = the remaining amount is 100.000 DKK, which then can be paid as a dividend).

You now need to pay 27% in dividend tax on the first 56.500 DKK (2021), which amounts to 15.255 DKK.

Furthermore, you need to pay 42% in dividend tax, on the dividend exceeding the 56.500 DKK (42% of 100.000 DKK – 56.500 DKK = 43.500 DKK * 42%), which equals: 18.270 DKK.

In total you will have paid the following taxes: 28.205 DKK (22% company income tax) + 15.255 DKK (dividend tax 27% up to 56.500 DKK) + 18.270 DKK (dividend tax 42% of the dividend exceeding 56.500 DKK) = 61.730 DKK in company income tax and dividend tax – or what equals 48,15% of the 128.205 DKK profit before tax.


Married couples

There are special rules if you are married.

The amount you can pay as a dividend with the 27% dividend tax is doubled so that instead of 56.500 DKK, you can pay out 113.000 DKK (2021).


So what is the better option – to receive a salary or to receive a dividend?

For the majority, it is best to first receive a salary up to the limit of the maximum tax bracket, and then afterwards to receive a dividend up to the limit of the low tax rate (56.500 DKK, 27%) afterwards.

And then to receive a salary where the maximum tax applies.

It gives the following income priority:

1: Salary up to the limit of the maximum tax bracket (2021: Gross salary before ATP and AM-contribution are deducted: 593.309 DKK)

2: Dividend up to the limit of the low 27% dividend tax rate (2021: 56.500 DKK if you are not married, and 113.000 DKK if you are married)

3: Salary where maximum tax applies


Summary of important limits, tax rates and deadlines


DESCRIPTION Year 2019 Year 2020 Year 2021
Company income tax rate 22% 22% 22%
Dividend tax: holding companies owning 10% or more 0% 0% 0%
Dividend tax: This is the low tax rate when the dividend is below the limit 27% 27% 27%
Dividend tax: This is the high tax rate when the dividend is above the limit 42% 42% 42%
Dividend tax: Limit where the low tax rate changes to the high tax rate, unmarried 52.900 DKK 55.300 DKK 56.500 DKK
Dividend tax: Limit where the low tax rate changes to the high tax rate, married 105.800 DKK 110.600 DKK 113.000 DKK
Maximum tax bracket (“topskat”): Limit before ATP og AM-contribution is deducted 559.179 DKK 578.309 DKK 593.309 DKK
Maximum tax bracket (“topskat”): Limit after ATP og AM-contribution is deducted 513.400 DKK 531.000 DKK 544.800 DKK
Maximum tax rate (“topskat”) 15% 15% 15%
ATP: Employees own contribution 1.135,80 DKK per year 1.135,80 DKK per year 1.135,80 DKK per year


DESCRIPTION DEADLINE
Deadline for submitting the annual report 5 months after the fiscal year ends
Deadline for submitting the tax return 6 months after the fiscal year ends
Deadline for paying dividend tax 10 days following the month where the decision to distribute the dividend was made
Deadline for paying company income tax instalment 1 (ordinary instalment) 20 March
Deadline for paying company income tax instalment 2 (ordinary instalment) 20 November
Deadline for paying company income tax instalment 3 (voluntary instalment) 1 February in the fiscal year following the end of the fiscal year


Do you have any questions to company income tax, dividend or dividend tax?