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All you need to know about Directors Loan Accounts  

A director’s loan account is simply a mechanism for recording transactions between the director and the company.  In a family or personal company situation, transactions between the director and the company are commonplace.  The director may lend money to the company or borrow from it, the director’s behalf and salary or dividend payments may be credited to the account.  However, there are tax consequences if the account is overdrawn at the year end and remains so at the corporation tax due date.

One of the main benefits that may be available to a director of a personal or family company is the ability to borrow easily and cheaply, assuming that the company has the funds available.  The rules make it possible for the director to borrow up to £10,000 for up to 21 months without any tax consequences.  If the amount exceeds £10,000 – even for as little as one day – there will be a benefit in kind charge to pay on the loan.  However, this is likely to be significantly cheaper than the cost of a commercial loan, and will not entail the costs and restrictions inherent in obtaining a commercial loan.  If the directors loan account is overdrawn at the end of the accounting period and remains overdrawn at the time at which the corporation tax for the period is due nine months and one day after the year end, the company is required to pay a tax charge on the outstanding loan balance (a ‘section 455’ charge).  The charge is 32.5% of the outstanding loan balance and is payable with the corporation tax for the period.  The rate of tax is the same as the higher rate of tax on dividends.

The section 455 tax can be avoided if any overdrawn loan account balance is cleared before the corporation tax due date.  However, this will not always be the most tax-efficient option as depending on the route taken to clear the debt, the tax payable may be more than the section 455 tax.  Further, the section 455 tax is repaid if the debt is cleared at a later date, with the repayment being due nine months and one day from the end of the accounting period in which it was cleared.  This paves the way for paying the section 455 tax initially, clearing the loan at a later date when this can be done tax effectively and reclaiming the section 455 tax.  If the director has sufficient funds to clear the debt, this will be beneficial from a tax perspective as it will prevent a section 455 charge from arising without triggering tax liabilities on the director.  Whether it is worthwhile to pay the director a bonus or a dividend payment to clear the loan account will depend on the director’s personal circumstances – if this can be done tax-free or at a low rate of tax, it may be preferable to paying the section 455 charge.  However, if the taxpayer is a higher or additional rate taxpayer, paying the section 455 tax will be the cheaper option.  Remember, not only will the bonus or dividend need to be sufficient to clear the debt, it will also need to cover any associated tax and National Insurance.

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Are you giving off the right impression?

I recently saw a leaflet for something I could be have been interested in.  At the point of taking the next step I looked for an email address to email to arrange a meeting to discuss their offering.  My impression of this business suddenly did a nose dive on the professionability scale. They had a hotmail email account. Was this a part time business? Another person involved in this business had an email address sexysuzy@……. For the cost of a domain running at around £6 for 2 years, why had they not grabbed it?

I then saw that they had a website with the business domain so why were they not using the domain with an associated email address? This person had a good website so I proceeded to email.

Not getting a reply I telephoned the number on the website but it went to the home phone answerphone. Had I got the wrong number?

It took three weeks for an email reply which was full of apology. Was this person taking their business seriously? Could they cope with the work I was proposing to give them?

We met up and he gave me his business card. Oh dear! I think it was a DIY job from Staples and was completely mismatched to the website. It was poorly thought out, poorly printed and was misaligned. It gave incomplete information and contained spelling mistakes.

This business was giving out all the wrong messages before we had had the opportunity to work together.

The meeting went well but the jury is still out as to whether to use him. I have my doubts.

What is the point of all this? This person could have made a much stronger impact with so little effort.

Had he had a consistent brand image – domain, logo, standard of presentation, my impression would have been very different.

Had the telephone been answered by a human or by a professional answerphone, my impression would have been very different.

Had the initial response been earlier and the final proposal sooner after the meeting, my impression would have been very different

By the time we got to the end of the sale process, I had lost confidence in this person which is such a shame. Time will tell if I made the right decision.

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Collaborations

Harmonea work with a number of professions in the following areas:

  • Copywriters
  • HR
  • Insurance
  • IT
  • Mortgages
  • Pensions
  • R & D Tax Credits specialists
  • Social Media
  • Specialist coaches
  • Therapists

If you would like an introduction to any of these people, please let us know as we will be pleased to do an introduction for you.

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