Beneficial loans to employees

In many cases, making loans to your employees or their relatives can create an obligation to report a beneficial loan to HMRC. The deemed benefit would be a taxable benefit in kind for the relevant employee, and would increase the employer’s Class 1A NIC bill at the end of the tax year.

However, certain loans are exempt from this reporting obligation. These may include loans employers provide:

  • in the normal course of a domestic or family relationship as an individual (not as a company you control, even if you are the sole owner and employee),
  • with a combined outstanding value to an employee of less than £10,000 throughout the whole tax year,
  • to an employee for a fixed and never changing period, and at a fixed and constant rate that was equal to or higher than HMRC’s official interest rate when the loan was taken out – the official rate for 2016-17 was 3%,
  • under identical terms and conditions to the general public as well (this mostly applies to commercial lenders),
  • that are ‘qualifying loans’, meaning all of the interest qualifies for tax relief,
  • using a director’s loan account as long as it’s not overdrawn at any time during the tax year.

Loans written off also create a National Insurance Class 1 charge. They must be reported on a P11D and the employer has an obligation to deduct and pay Class 1 NIC on the deemed value of the benefit.

Calculating the taxable benefits for chargeable loans can be somewhat complex and readers are advised to take advice if they are unsure of their tax and NIC responsibilities.

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