Shareholders Loan

Updated on January 4, 2024
Article byShraddha Sureka
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What is a Shareholders Loan?

A shareholder’s Loan is a form of financing falling under the debt category, where the source of financing is the shareholders of the company, and that is why it is called so; this Loan is of subordinate level, wherein the repayment happens after all other liabilities are paid off, and even the interest payment is generally deferred as per the terms of the loan indenture.

Explanation

  • Shareholders Loan is another form of financing that the companies go for when they are at a very initial stage and can’t afford bank loans or debt financing or may not be getting the same because of anything concrete to show off to the lenders. In such cases, shareholders also give out loans to the company at fixed interest terms and conditions apart from putting in share capital.
  • We can consider it a hybrid form of financing, but the financing is in debt format. Interest is fixed but deferred. Repayment is subordinated to another debt financing, if any, but should be paid off before profit distribution to shareholders.
  • Most times, it is the company that is the borrower; however, at times, it is also the shareholder who needs to borrow from the company. Although this is not considered the generic meaning of the term, it might be regarded as a negative shareholder loan from the company’s perspective.
Shareholders-Loan

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How Shareholder’s Loan is Used?

#1 – Working Capital

At times the companies require quick financing for their working capital requirements. For this reason, it may go into a shareholder’s loan format because it needs regularly and that too at a snap of the fingers; otherwise, its day-to-day operations are hampered. An example is the loan agreement between eBay PRC Holdings (Bvi) Inc. and Tom Online Inc., dated December 20, 2006, as per the archives of SEC.

#2 – Business Operations

At times the purpose of the Loan is not specified because there isn’t anyone particular use for the funds. For example, a company might need additional funds. Therefore instead of raising more equity, it prefers debt capital, and therefore instead of going to an outside lender, it asks for the same from its shareholders.

#3 – Expansion

After being confident about the current product lineProduct LineProduct Line refers to the collection of related products that are marketed under a single brand, which may be the flagship brand for the concerned company. Typically, companies extend their product offerings by adding new variants to the existing products with the expectation that the existing consumers will buy products from the brands that they are already purchasing.read more,  a business may want to expand into a new geographical region or may wish to add another product line, so it might want to raise further funds. Again, a shareholder’s Loan might be a more suitable option because, most times, it comes with lower strings attached; that is, the loan period is indefinite, or there might be no interest on the same. An example is the loan agreement between Kunekt Corporation and Mark Bruk, the sole shareholderShareholderA shareholder is an individual or an institution that owns one or more shares of stock in a public or a private corporation and, therefore, are the legal owners of the company. The ownership percentage depends on the number of shares they hold against the company's total shares.read more of Kunekt, effective as of October 1, 2007, as per the archives of SEC.

#4 – Debt Refinancing

At times the company wants to pay off an old debt because it had taken at a higher rate of interest or more restrictive terms and conditions; for this purpose, it requires funds, and therefore it raises a shareholder’s Loan, which it might be able to negotiate at a better rate or maybe at the current market rate, which is lower than the old rate. Still, the company doesn’t want to wait longer to go to an external lender.

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Shareholder’s Loan vs. Capital Contribution

How does Shareholders Loan Affect Taxes?

  • Below market loan:
  • When the shareholder’s Loan is at an interest rate lower than the market rate or the rate published by the Internal revenue Service (IRS), such a loan is known as a below-market loan.
  • The difference between the interest paid and that it should be paid according to the market rate is considered an income for the company, and therefore it is taxable.
  • However, the interest differential is not taxable if the loan amount is $10000 or lower.

Conclusion

A shareholder’s Loan is a quick and more flexible form of financing that the companies might raise if they cannot afford external debt or don’t have the time to do so. Further, it is also a cheaper form as, at times, no interest is charged, and it acts as a long-term cushion when sanctioned for an indefinite period. However, the lender and borrower need to be cautious about its tax consequences and the formalities related to the same because the IRS keeps a close watch on such financing for an tax evasionTax EvasionTax Evasion is an illegal act in which the taxpayers deliberately misreport their financial affairs to reduce or evade the actual tax liability. This includes using multiple financial ledgers, hiding or representing lesser income, gains, or profits than actually earned, overstating deductions, & failing to file returns. read more practices.

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