To illustrate how important it is to ensure the correct treatment of payments to directors as salary or dividends, a recent legal case has confirmed the position –
The case in question is Richard and Julie Jones v HMRC  UKFTT 1082 (5 December 2014).
They took a small salary and regular dividends from their recruitment company which was absolutely fine until the company got into financial trouble!
Their accountant (unethically but in an attempt to help their client) suggested they should re-write history and change the dividends to salary so that the liquidator couldn’t recall the dividends.
HMRC then decided to demand PAYE and NI and pursued Richard and Julie personally.
HMRC was refused the right to collect PAYE tax and NI due on the salary, not because the law didn’t allow it, but because it wasn’t possible for Richard & Julie to reclassify the dividends. They had been properly paid and the correct procedure followed. History couldn’t be rewritten and the dividends should have been changed to loans if the dividends were illegal.
Loans to directors then have a whole other raft of tax implications so it really is important to get this right and make sure that any dividends taken are legal and correctly paid.