It's a common feature of these threads that lenders have become difficult to find and engage with.

We have recently had some experience in this arena.

In most schemes that used loans, certainly until 2011, loans were advanced by the company acting as trustee for a trust. In some cases, the loans were made by the company and later moved to a trust.

For a lot of post March 2011 schemes, similar arrangements were used but often had more legs to the chain of process.

A loan made by a trust cannot disappear.

It remains a trust asset.

A trust cannot disappear. The trustee can change from time to time but cannot be dissolved without the knowledge of the beneficiary.

We have not come across any instances of the trust being dissolved.

Of those trustees we have traced, some have been very helpful, some less so. Interestingly those who have not helped their beneficiaries, have done so for different reasons. No common reason can be identified.

However the loan remains extant UNLESS you can show it has been legally waived, i.e. your obligation to repay has been removed. There are a number of ways of doing this.

However not being in contact with the lender, the company acting as trustee no longer so acting, the promoter no longer existing, etc. None of these cause the legal waiving of that loan.

The loan remains exposed to the 2019 charge.

We have some instances where we know the trust/trustee and despite attempts to contact them, they have remained silent. One of our work streams is now to work out the legal position there. Our advice from a year or so ago was that the loan remains legally due and repayable but this is a situation that gets complicated very quickly. (Loan agreement subject to IOM law, UK based borrower, perhaps now out of the UK, trustee moved to say Panama?)

However I suspect that claiming a loan has somehow disappeared is both legally very difficult and a situation HMRC will resist.