Company loans to shareholders under review
The Government has released a consultation paper outlining proposed reforms to ‘simplify’ the loan agreements that are generally required when a shareholder (or their associate) borrows funds (or receives a payment) from a related company.
Broadly, where a private company makes a payment or loans funds to a shareholder and/or their associate, the amount will be treated as a taxable unfranked dividend paid to the recipient.
To avoid this, many shareholders enter into complying ‘Division 7A loan agreements’ (basically agreeing to repay the relevant amount within 7 years, or 25 years if the loan is secured).
With this in mind,Treasury is currently looking at (amongst other things):
- simplifying the Division 7A loan rules by converting to a new 10-year model; and
- clarifying that distributions from a trust to a ‘bucket’ company that remain ‘unpaid present entitlements’ come within the scope of Division 7A.
The proposed amendments are intended to apply from 1 July 2019 and will arguably be the most significant tax reforms impacting business and investment clients over the next two years.
At this stage of the consultation process, the Government is currently considering submissions made with respect to these proposals and it is expected that draft legislation, and further clarity, will be available early in the 2019 calendar year.
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