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Writing off a director’s loan account

Sometimes in the course of running a business, a director can borrow money from the company or the company can borrow money from a director, this is a directors loan. Often companies and directors chose to write off a directors loan but there’s a procedure you have to follow to ensure that you write off the loan correctly and the tax implications this has. In this blog, we explore all you need to know about directors loans and writing them off.

Writing off a Director’s loan account
In this article we cover:
  1. What is a director’s loan?
  2. Who are the participators?
  3. Writing off director’s loan
  4. Scenarios where DLA can be written off
  5. Implications for the Participator
  6. What can HMRC claim?
  7. Do Directors Loans Need To Be Paid Back?

What is a director’s loan?

Before we dive into the details, its essential to define a directors loan. A directors loan is a monetary sum borrowed by a director from a limited company under their direction that cannot be classified as salary, dividend, or expense. It is a debt borrowed from your company that you will eventually have to return at some point in time. Once you have obtained this loan, you may utilise the funds for any personal purpose you like.

Another type of directors loan is when a director of a company lends their own money to the company for whatever purpose. The business may have encountered unforeseen expenses or maybe launching a new branch or business venture and requires additional funding. Typically, directors loans are provided during the start-up period of a company to assist in getting things started.

Who are the Participators?

A participator is anyone who owns a share or interest in the company's capital or income.

  1. A person who owns or is entitled to acquire the company's share capital or voting rights.
  2. A person who is a company's loan creditor.
  3. Any individual who holds or is entitled to acquire a right to receive or participate in the company's distributions or in any payments payable by the company to loan creditors (in cash or kind) as premium or redemption.
  4. Any person who is entitled to ensure that the company's income or assets (whether current or future)are used for their benefit directly or indirectly.

Writing off Director’s loan

Is repaying the loan unfeasible for you?” Even if it is, many businesses choose to write off directors loans rather than repaying them.

If your company forgives a directors loan, there are numerous implications to consider. That's why, it is rather simple to write off a directors loan as long as you follow the prescribed procedure and get guidance from your financial advisor and/or accountant.

If liability is to be completely eliminated, the loan must be formally waived. The business cannot simply opt to ignore the remaining balance. It must be done correctly so that the director who took out the debt is no longer held liable for it and is not expected to repay it.

Under the Income Tax Act 2005, the written-off loan will be recognised as dividends and written off in the next tax return. Due to the fact that the loan is now considered dividends, the company is not required to have accessible profits when disbursing this amount. In short, you can receive dividend treatment without really paying a dividend.

The write-off is often recorded as a debit in the profit and loss of the services account; however, this can be done differently depending on how your accounts are set up. However, it must be properly recorded.

Scenarios where DLA can be written off

There are a few scenarios in which a DLA may be written off:

  1. If a close company (one with fewer than five participators) writes off a directors loan - in the case that the director is also a participator. The loan is denoted here as a profits distribution. If the loan is not given to another participant, the remaining amount is taxed as employment income and must be reported on the borrowing individuals tax return.
  2. Personal liability from a directors loan can be reduced for legitimate reasons, such as mileage or personal expenses used to purchase assets for the company.
  3. The DLA may be reduced by voting the remaining money as dividends or bonuses – though this will not work if the business is about to enter liquidation.

Implications for the Participator

  1. If a company releases or writes off a loan to a participant, the company will receive a repayment for the s.455 tax. The participant will be treated as having received a dividend equivalent to the loan amount that has been written off or released.
  2. The dividend is paid on the date the loan is released or written off. An individual can pay any tax through Self-assessment.
  3. This treatment is also applicable if the participator is also an employee. The release or the amount written off is still considered dividend income, not employment income. However, from the company's perspective, this is not a dividend. Under the loan relationship rules, the release or writing off results in a debit, but this is not an allowable deduction for corporation tax purposes.
  4. If the participator or associate is an employee, the loan release or write-off is recognised as earnings from employment for NIC purposes. It will be subject to Class 1 NIC, which means the individual will pay either 12% or 2% of the amount released or written off, depending on their level of employment income, and the company will pay 13.8 percent of Class 1 NIC. The company's NIC payment is a tax-deductible expense.

What can HMRC claim?

What you may find is that in many instances of a directors loan being written off, HMRC may claim that the write-off falls under the category of emoluments from an office or job. And in these instances, HMRC will seek to recover National Insurance contributions from the company and request that the amount of the written-off loan be included in the directors self-assessment when the director files their tax return, with income tax paid on this amount. There is a special place for this in the additional information section when completing your self-assessment online.

The amount is taxed as a dividend, and the company will be unable to claim corporation tax relief on the written-off loan. While writing off a loan may be costly, it is often preferable to repay the loan after the money has been spent or if the company does not require it.

Do Directors Loans Need To Be Paid Back?

Yes. Of course - the loan, like any other type of loan, must be repaid. To avoid paying tax, the directors loan must be repaid within nine months and one day after the end of the accounting period.

There are implications if the loan is not repaid:

  1. The company may face a corporation tax penalty of 32.5 per cent of the loan amount,
  2. Implications for National insurance and income tax (for loans exceeding £10,000)

For every business, writing off a directors loan is not the best course of action. If you find yourself in a problem with directors loans, you may wish to see a professional financial advisor to determine the right plan of action. One of the most critical points to remember is that if you are a director of a company, you should never view the company's funds as your own personal funds and should try and keep your business and personal affairs as distinct as possible.

At dns, we have a specialist tax team that can advise you on writing off a director’s loan account. Book a free consultation now to know more about Director’s loan account. You can call us on 03300 886 686 or email info@dnsaccountants.co.uk.

Disclaimer :-"This article was correct at the date of publication. It is intended for general purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Independent professional advice should be sought before proceeding with any transaction".

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