If you are a director or shareholder in a ‘close’ company, any money owed to the company can trigger a tax charge on a director’s loan.
A close company is broadly defined as a company which is under the control of five or fewer participators, or any number of participators if those participators are directors.
Most small limited companies are close companies as they will have fewer than five shareholders or are run entirely by shareholder directors.
A participator is any person having a share or interest in the capital or income of the company. For most small companies it is a straightforward case that the shareholders are participators.
The tax charge on a director’s loan is defined by the Corporation Tax Act 2010. Part 10, section 455 is the relevant section of the act. The s455 tax charge is currently 32.5% and applies to the balance owed by a director / participator at the of the accounting period for the Corporation Tax return.
The easiest way to avoid any tax charge on a director’s loan is to manage the business so you don’t find yourself needing to record a loan in the first place. With Alterledger as your accountant, you will know that you can view your business accounts in real time and never be in the dark about amounts you owe back to the company.
Many new directors are unaware that they can’t just help themselves to the company’s cash. If you don’t have the proper documentation in place to record payments as either payroll or dividends, then any payments or benefits made to directors default to a loan.
Before a company can declare dividends it must have financial reports showing that it has sufficient post tax profits to distribute to shareholders. If you don’t keep up to date accounts you may find yourself in a position that payments you thought were dividends are actually loans that need to be repaid to the company. If you are unable to repay the loan in time your company will suffer a 32.5% charge on the balance.
Alterledger can set you up with Xero online accounting software and provide the management accounts you need to process dividends and avoid any problems with the s455 charge. We can prepare all the dividend documentation to support your dividend payments and have the records you need for your personal tax return.
If your s455 loan is repaid within 9 months of the accounting period, you still need to include the details of the loan in the company Corporation Tax return. Under certain situations the tax charge on a director’s loan will be extinguished by the repayment. There are anti-avoidance rules to prevent loans being repaid and then immediately taken out again known as bed and breakfasting.
If you repay £5,000 or more and within 30 days borrow £5,000 or more the repayment will apply to the new loan rather than the older balance. This means that if you repay a loan on the last day of your accounting period and then take another loan within 30 days, you could still have a tax charge on a director’s loan of 32.5%. In this case the original loan will be treated as unpaid by HMRC at the balance sheet date.
The good news is that as long as the company has sufficient profits in the 9 months following the accounting period, you can declare a dividend to repay any loan. If the dividend is credited directly to your director’s loan account, this repayment will not be caught by the anti avoidance regulations above.
Example: You owe £6,000 to the company at 31st March 2019, which is the end of your accounting period. The company accounts are prepared in June 2019 at which point you become aware of the loan. The company has sufficient post tax profits to declare a dividend of £6,000 on 15th July. After receiving your dividend you need to borrow a further £10,000 on 31st July, repaying the balance on 31st January 2020.
The example above shows how a subtle difference in accounting for a loan repayment can save you £1,950. Is it crucial to your business that your company finances are handled properly leaving you to get on with your actual business. Give us a call or use the contact form below to find out how we can save you time and stress an release you to do what you do best.
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