What happens when a company director borrows money from their business to help with personal finance, but struggles to repay the loan? While this can be stressful, there are ways to postpone the repayment cutoff in order to avoid the s.455 tax charge. Here’s what you need to know:
As an example, let’s say Joe Bloggs of Alpha Services borrowed £75,000 from his personal company on 20th March 2019, to help pay for an upcoming home move. He did this as a taxable benefit in kind, and an alternative to taking out a bridging loan, thinking it would save him paying the interest.
Joe intended to repay the loan quickly once his previous property was sold, but after months of negotiation, the potential buyer pulled out in July 2019, and interest in the property has since dried up.
Joe is now concerned about having to pay the 32.5% corporation tax charge under s.455 Corporation Tax Act (CTA) 2010, which would amount to £24,375, and is payable to HMRC.
What is the nine-month rule?
Alpha Services may be able to avoid this payment if Joe can repay the loan to the company before 31st December 2019. This is because the charge only has to be paid to the extent that the loan has not been repaid within nine months of the relevant year end.
Typically this would mean voting a dividend which is credited against the loan balance, but this would be taxable income for Joe Bloggs who is a higher rate taxpayer, so in this instance it doesn’t offer much help.
Alternatively, Joe could borrow funds from a bank to repay the loan, then use the eventual proceeds to repay the bank loan. Though this would mean he will need to pay interest, it will still be lower than the tax payable on a large dividend. If, however, Joe struggles to raise finance quickly, he may run into further problems.
So what would we recommend here at Price & Accountants? A great way to make this work for you is to change the accounting date.
What does it mean to change the accounting date?
Joe Bloggs could alter the Alpha Services accounting date to just before the loan was issued, meaning the loan would essentially disappear from the records until the next accounting period, giving Joe more time to sell his property and repay the company without being required to pay the s.455 charge.
Doing this would mean that, if the loan was issued on 20th March 2019, and Joe changes his company’s accounting date to 28th February 2019, the loan will not show up in the accounts until the year ending 28th February 2020, giving him until 30th November 2020 to sell his house and pay back the loan.
What about changing this back?
Joe can shorten the company’s accounting period as many times as he likes, but can only lengthen it once every 5 years, with some exceptions. Provided that Alpha Services has not changed the date before, Joe can revert back to a 31st March year-end whenever he wishes, if at all.
If you want to find out more about tax on your director’s loan, get in touch with our team at Price & Accountants. We are committed to helping small businesses in London and around the UK with their accounting needs, using Xero online accounting software and our expert team of advisors, all dedicated to helping your business flourish.