The Finance Bill 2017 contains provisions enabling HMRC to tax outstanding EBT loans made since 6 April 1999 as if they were disguised pay.
The charge will not apply if the loan* is repaid before 5 April 2019 or has otherwise been fully taxed.
Update: in my view this means the legislation is not retrospective (unless the taxpayer knows it was a “pretend” loan, ie low or untaxed remuneration, rather than a real loan).
Those affected should take advice. That advice should be independent from that given by the scheme promoter or adviser who introduced them into the planning. There is a settlement opportunity available with HMRC and it can be possible to arrange time to pay agreements for the tax.
A bigger problem?
Some will struggle to pay the tax but is there a potentially bigger problem: what if the EBT trustees call in the loan for repayment?
In either case you may also need to take advice from an insolvency practitioner.
Also keep an eye on the leading tax case in this area, relating to Rangers FC https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2016-0073.html
Win or lose*, existing loans that remain unpaid will be taxable one way or another.
*update: the taxpayer lost