Shareholder Loans and Your Private Corporation

If you own your private corporation and borrow money you should consider the income tax consequences.

The Income Tax Act contains a series of rules that may have income tax consequences for the person receiving the loan from the company. In the context of this article, the term loan means any form of debt the shareholder or family member has to the corporation. The term shareholder should be taken to mean the shareholder of the corporation or members of the shareholders family.

These rules exist to prevent shareholders of private companies from taking out a series of back-to-back loans and avoid personal income tax altogether.

General Tax Rule For Shareholder Loans

investingThe general rule is that your shareholder loan must be repaid within one year from the end of the corporations’ tax year then the loan will not be taxed in your hands.

You may be able to have the loan outstanding for longer that 12 months depending on when the loan was taken out and the corporation’s year end. However, caution must be taken as missing the repayment deadline can have some unwelcome tax consequences.

3 Exceptions To The Shareholder Loan Rules

There are three general exceptions to shareholder loan provisions under the income Tax Act.

1. One Year Rule – As outlined above, if the loan is repaid by the shareholder within the year after the end of the corporations’ tax year, the loan is not included in income.

However, the loan cannot be a series of loans and repayments. On the other hand, if a current loan account is maintained in the corporation for a shareholder during a tax year and the year-end balance is repaid from salary or declared dividends the CRA will generally not consider these transactions as a series of loans or repayments.

2. The Lenders Rule – If the corporations’ business is lending money or the debt is from the normal business activities then the loan is not considered a shareholder loan, provided standard arrangements are made for repayment and are maintained.

3. Principal Residence Rule – If the shareholder is also an employee and a loan is advanced to purchase a principal residence, new shares in the corporation, or a vehicle to be used for business purposes then the loan is not considered income (more details at In addition, the loan must be advanced due to employment and not due to shares held and standard arrangements are made for repayment are made and maintained.

Repaying A Shareholder Loan

When the loan is repaid that was previously included in income for tax purposes, it may be deducted from income of the year of payment.

Before you take a loan, be sure to discuss the matter with your accountant. If the loan is not properly structured, the costs of the loan could be substantial.

Help With shareholder Loans

With more than 15 years of professional accounting tax experience we can help you structure the most efficient compensation systems to hep you maximize your income and PAY LESS TAX!

Call us today at (289) 288-1206 or send us an email to find out how Dean Paley Certified General Accountant can help you get the most out of your business.

The information in this article is for general use only and should not be considered advice or a recommendation.

Dean Paley

A graduate of Simon Fraser University, Dean started and operated an independent painting company while perusing a degree at SFU. After graduating from Simon Fraser, Dean entered the Certified General Accountants Program of Professional studies where he obtained the professional CGA designation. After a number of successful years as the head of finance for the Canadian operations in a global financial services firm, Dean moved into a marketing role and established and launched a tax, estate and financial planning support department and service to advisors and clients. During this time Dean successfully obtained the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. Dean has been a member of the Canadian Forces Reserve spanning three decades serving in the Royal Westminster Regiment (B.C.), the Military Police and later as a commissioned officer in the Cadet Instructors Cadre in Hamilton Ontario. Dean Paley CGA CFP has been interviewed and quoted in major media such as the National Post, Financial Post, Toronto Star, Canadian Business, Money Sense and Investment Executive. Dean is married to his lovely wife Deborah and has four lovely children.