If you run your own Limited company this phrase has probably been thrown into conversation a fair bit - but what does it actually mean? This blog clearly explains how director's loan accounts work in small construction companies.
In short, it’s simply a record of all the transactions between the company and you, its director.
The loan account (sometimes called a director’s current account) might include any, or all, of the following:
Transactions between you and the company are tallied up and classified as either:
The company owes you money.
You owe the company money.
New businesses often need an injection of cash to get them started as they're unlikely to qualify for a bank loan. This means borrowing money from the director is a great way to access funds.
More established businesses may need a cash injection to assist with cashflow for buying new equipment.
The good news is that you can withdraw any monies that you've lent the company with no tax implications whatsoever. Just make sure, before you repay your loan, that the company can still afford to pay out other creditors such as suppliers and HMRC.
But there’s more good news - the company can pay you interest on the money you loan it!
This is a great way of extracting money from the company in a tax efficient way.
The interest rate you charge can be set higher than the business might be able to get from a bank. This is because the bank would ordinarily be looking for security against assets or perhaps a personal guarantee. However, as you’re not providing these, the loan would be classed as unsecured (meaning it’s riskier). We therefore suggest that a rate of 8-10% could be considered reasonable.
Always to speak to us in relation to this, as important paperwork is required. A declaration needs to be made to HMRC, as well as the tax being deducted. However, if planned well, it might also be possible to recover all, or some of the tax deducted. This is because most UK individuals have a tax-free allowance called a ‘Personal Savings Allowance’.
Surprise overdrawn director loan accounts are usually bad news as there’s little planning that can be done by the time that they are discovered. These often occur where you draw out more than you’re entitled to in salary or dividends, or if you use company money to pay for personal costs like holidays.
BUT a carefully planned director’s loan withdrawal can avoid costly and unnecessary tax implications and also be really helpful. Say for example you need a short-term loan to pay your child’s university fees or to put a deposit down on a house – the company could loan you the money.
If the loan exceeds this amount HMRC consider it a ‘benefit in kind’, meaning you are getting the benefit of an interest free, or low interest loan that would not be available elsewhere. This means that either the ‘benefit’ you are receiving becomes taxable, or the more common approach is that the company should charge you interest on the loan. HMRC’s guideline rate for 2021/22 is a fairly favourable 2.25%.
The loan needs to be repaid within 9 months (and 1 day) of the accounts year end to avoid an additional, albeit temporary, corporation tax charge of 32.5%. However, it’s not necessarily the end of the world if this does need to be paid as the tax can be recovered from HMRC, once the loan has been repaid. Just remember that it may cause a cashflow issue for the business in terms of paying out the additional tax and having to wait to claim it back.
Repaying your loan could be as simple as depositing personal money back into the business account but don’t worry if this isn’t an option, there are alternatives.
It’s not the preferred way of making a repayment as it’s not usually tax efficient, but a salary could be declared via the company’s payroll scheme, which you do not then take from the bank.
The most tax efficient way of repaying the director’s loan would be to declare non-cash dividends i.e. dividends which you do not take from the company (as you’ve already taken the money). But planning will be required to assess the company’s profits, and the timing needs to be carefully considered.
We're regularly helping our construction clients get the most out of their director loan accounts. If you'd like to discuss yours, book a free 15-minute discovery call today.