Overdrawn loan accounts

Up to 5 April 2016, directors who overdrew their loan accounts in a company ran the risk of an additional 25% Corporation Tax charge if the debt remained outstanding nine months after their company’s trading period end.

The tax can be claimed back, but not until there is a repayment of the debt. From a cash flow point of view this can be a hefty penalty, and makes this type of temporary cash extraction by shareholder directors, unattractive.

 The Treasury has decided to tighten the screw.

Legislation has been introduced in the Finance Bill 2016 to specifically link the rate of tax chargeable on loans or advances to, or arrangements conferring benefits on, participators made by close companies to the higher dividend rate. The rate will be increased from 25% to 32.5%. The new rate will apply to loans made or benefits conferred on or after 6 April 2016.

This is a 30% increase in the tax charge. A company that allows a director or shareholder to maintain an overdrawn loan, taken out after 6 April 2016, for say £50,000, still unpaid after the nine month deadline, will incur a corporation charge of £16,250 instead of £12,500.

Companies affected would do well to revisit the cash flow implications.