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Directors (participators in a closed company) often borrow money from their companies with the intention of paying a dividend to repay the loan.
If the loan is outstanding more than 9 months after the company year end, then an extra 25% corporation tax charge is due, this is the s455 tax which is refunded when the loan is repaid as explained in this blog
HMRC were concerned that some participators were avoiding this tax by raising funds short term to repay an outstanding loan. They would then draw a new loan very shortly afterwards – HMRC refer to this as “bed and breakfasting”. New anti-avoidance rules were therefore introduced in 2013.
These new rules incorporate two provisions – the “30-day rule” and the “intentions and arrangements” rule.
This applies where within a 30-day period:
- a shareholder makes repayments of their s455 loan; and
- in a subsequent accounting period, new loans or advances are made to the same shareholder or their associate.
So basically prevents the use of ‘Bed & Breakfasting’
‘intentions and arrangements’ Rule
Relief is denied regardless of the 30 day rule, if prior to repayment there is an outstanding amount of at least £15,000 and at the time the amount is repaid to the company, any person intended to redraw any of that amount or had made arrangements to make a new withdrawal; and a new withdrawal is made.
The relief denied is the lower of the amount repaid and the amount redrawn.
This year we had some good news for next year, the exemption threshold for employment-related loans has been increased for 2014/15 from £5,000 to £10,000, as long as the balance is below this level there is no tax charge for employees or employers.
But there could be bad news for participators (Directors/Shareholders) who have been using one of these techniques to avoid the 25% temporary Corporation Tax charge:
1. Using a Partnership or LLP where the company is a partner or member as a way to get loans
2. Making arrangements that did not qualify as loans but the where value ended up in the hands on a participator
3. Making loans repaying them within 9 months and getting a new loan, the Bed and Breakfast approach
4. Transfers of assets
5. Loans channelled through third parties
New anti avoidance rules are coming, there is a consultation paper aimed at minimising the scope for abuse and there will be new legislation in the Finance Bill 2014 and Finance Bill 2015.