As founder and CEO of the UK’s first debt and equity crowd funding aggregator, Sacha Bright spends a lot of time talking to investors and start-up companies about the relative risks and rewards of various modes of funding – and it seems that some otherwise sophisticated investors may be missing a trick. Specifically, he’s found that many high net worth individuals and City finance professionals are unaware of the government’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme [SEIS] and its potential advantages.
SEIS was established in 2012 to encourage people to invest in start-up and early stage businesses by offering income tax relief on investments of up to £150,000 as well as exemption from Capital Gains Tax.
And the figures make a compelling argument – although of course anyone considering this or any other investment should get professional advice before committing to it. In a given financial year an investor could receive an income tax deduction worth up to 50% of investments of up to £100,000, depending on individual circumstances. Furthermore, the investor may be entitled to a Capital Gains Tax exemption of up to 28% on any profits.
Of course, SEIS is not for everyone – and only companies with fewer than 25 employees and gross assets of no more than £200,000 (among other qualifying criteria) but as Sacha Bright points out, ‘This can be a tax-effective way to invest. Right now we have more than 70 companies of all sorts from cheesecake bakers to web dating agencies seeking investment on the businessagent.com site that would qualify for SEIS investment – and, personally, I think watching a small company grow is a lot more fun than watching your shares’ value rise and fall on the LSE!’
It is important to note, the potential tax benefits offered by SEIS will depend on each individual’s circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. Investors should seek independent professional advice, including tax advice, when considering an investment, and investments in SEIS are by its nature very high risk, with investor’s capital at risk of loss.
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