Loans put on hold and debt forgiveness: ATO’s views
The ATO has “clarified” its position on loans put on hold during COVID-19. The ATO will consider a debt to be forgiven for tax purposes if:
the debtor is somehow relieved from the legal obligation to repay it; or
there is evidence that the creditor won’t insist on repayment or rely on the obligation for repayment.
A debt is not considered to be forgiven if a creditor only postpones an amount payable and the debtor acknowledges the debt – unless there is evidence that the creditor will no longer rely on the obligation for repayment.
The Div 7A implications are specifically spelt out (as a debt forgiven by a private company can be treated as a deemed dividend). For these purposes, a debt is forgiven if a reasonable person would conclude a creditor will not insist on payment or rely on the borrower’s obligation to pay. However, simply allowing more time to repay a debt due to COVID-19 will not result in the debt being treated as forgiven.
If you would like to know more please contact one of our accountants on 07 4639 1099 or come in and see us at 4 Bowen Street Toowoomba.