Ulovlige aktionærlån: Redegørelse af nuværende lovgivning og analyse af problemstillinger

Morten Husted Christensen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

It has been unlawful since 1973 for companies to provide financial means to its owners and members of management, that is illegal loans to owners and members of management (shareholder loans). In spite of that, had more than 7,7 percent of all audited companies in 2012 granted such illegal loans. In consequence, the Danish Parliament adopted the bill of L199 in August 2012 and adopted the § 16E Danish Tax Assessment Act containing tax law provisions which contain implications in the event of unlawful borrowing by owners or members of management. The object was to put a halt to prevalence of illegal shareholder loans and to secure tax yield. The objective of this thesis is to analyse the rules of company law and tax law and the implications of illegal shareholder loans. Since a clear interpretation of tax law does not exist at this point in time, the aim of the thesis is also to identify any issues arising from the existence of illegal shareholder loans. These are issues having implications for management bodies because of their managerial responsibility, requirements for notes to the financial statements and modifications to the auditor’s report to the effect that it will contain information that an illegal shareholder loan exists, but not least because there are major implications for the principal shareholder from a tax law perspective. The provisions of Danish company law prohibiting shareholder loans apply to all companies making financial means available to members of management and to physical or legal owners who hold as little as one share. The provisions of Danish tax law apply only to natural principal shareholders who have the right to exercise control over the company. Both under Danish company law and Danish tax law, the prohibition applies to loans, collaterals and means made available to the owner. Also, both areas of law contain the exception that ordinary transactions based on a business rationale are not subject to the prohibition. This means that an illegal shareholder loan does not exist when a loan has been granted for ordinary commercial purposes and it is merely a coincidence that the transaction takes place between the company and the shareholder. Danish tax law does not define business transactions in the same way as Danish company law. This is why situations occur in which the two provisions do not always lead to the same conclusions. The implications under Danish company law in the event of any violation of the provisions governing shareholder loans are that the company may be fined and that the loan inclusive of a statutory interest charge must be repaid to the company. In terms of tax law, however, the implications are more farreaching because a loan to a principal shareholder is regarded as a withdrawal without any liability to repay. According to Danish tax law, the principal shareholder is therefore taxed at the time of disbursement of the loan either as pay or dividend. After that, the loan no longer exists from a tax point of view. With the provisions existing under Danish tax law, there is a risk that the principal shareholder will be taxed twice. The reason is that the loan still exists from a Danish company law perspective and must be repaid, and since the loan has already been taxed under Danish tax law, repayment takes place applying taxed means. Some degree of repairability exists to avoid double taxation, however, taxation of the principal shareholder cannot be avoided as a general rule. The adoption of the bill of L199 leads to the conclusion that it has major tax implications. However, the rules are relatively complex, which is why it must be expected that a principal shareholder may accidentally obtain a shareholder loan that is deemed illegal under Danish tax law, without the implications thereof having been known or considered. The conclusion may therefore be drawn that principal shareholders should avoid obtaining illegal shareholder loans.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2014
Number of pages86