Many small businesses are currently struggling to access the finance they need as lenders take a cautious approach to borrowing.  

With access to traditional loans and finance limited the tax benefits of both Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and Enterprise Investment Scheme could be a great way to unlock new opportunities.  

By using these schemes companies can hand over equity in exchange for capital funding. Both of these schemes were created to help small businesses secure investment by offering a range of attractive tax reliefs to incentivise investors to purchase new company shares. 

What are the tax benefits of investing in a SEIS or EIS Scheme? 

There is a range of benefits available to investors who support small businesses with their funding, these include:  

Income Tax Relief – SEIS income tax relief can be claimed at 50 per cent of the sum invested during the year that the investment was made, up to a maximum of £100,000. This is equal to up to £50,000 of Income Tax relief per year. 

Meanwhile EIS offers income tax relief of 30 per cent of the sum invested during the year that the investment was made, up to a maximum of £1 million – which is equal to up to £300,000 of Income Tax relief per year. 

Capital Gains Tax Exemption – Any gain from the disposal of EIS or SEIS shares, providing they have been held for the required period and the investor has received Income Tax relief, will be free of Capital Gains Tax. 

Any losses, in excess of Income Tax relief, can be offset against income in the year that the shares are disposed of rather than against capital gains. 

Capital Gains Tax Deferral – Individual investors can also opt to defer Capital Gains Tax where the gain is reinvested into an EIS Company, however the investment must be made either one year before or three years after the gain arose to be eligible for deferral of the tax. 

Inheritance Tax Relief – Inheritance Tax Relief is normally available on any SEIS or EIS shares that have been owned for two years. 

This applies to both lifetime gifts and shares in the person’s estate.  Inheritance Tax Relief is granted at 100 per cent of the value of the shares held due to Business Property Relief. 

Investor eligibility 

There are certain rules that govern a potential investor’s eligibility. These include: 

  • You must be a UK taxpayer in order to claim SEIS or EIS relief  
  • The company you are investing in must have been trading for at least 4 months 
  • You will not be eligible for SEIS or EIS tax relief if you have a financial interest in the company or are an employee 
  • Shares need to be fully paid up in cash and must be full risk ordinary shares with no preferential rights (other than certain fixed preferential dividend rights) 
  • Shares will usually need to be held for three years or Income Tax Relief will be withdrawn 
  • Investors cannot hold more than 30 per cent of the shares in the company 

Considerations under the EIS scheme 

Under EIS up to £5 million can be raised every year up to a maximum of £12 million over the lifetime of a company. However, to be eligible the company must also: 

  • Have fewer than 250 staff and gross assets less than £15 million  
  • Spend the funding on the trade or preparations for the trade or R&D within two years  
  • Meet strict conditions during the initial three-year qualifying period 

If you want to learn more about the potential tax savings offered by the EIS and SEIS, please contact your Seymour Taylor representative today or email or call 01494 552 100. 

This blog is for guidance only, professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. The information was correct at the time of publishing on 12 August 2022.

Posted in Blog news.