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Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) provides tax relief for individuals prepared to invest in new and growing companies. It is the junior version of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Investors can obtain generous income tax and capital gains tax (CGT) breaks for their investment and companies can use the relief to attract additional investment to develop their business.

Key features

The key features of the relief can be summarised as follows:

  • a qualifying investor will be able to invest up to £100,000 into qualifying companies in a tax year
  • they will receive income tax relief of up to 50% of the sum invested
  • unused relief in one tax year can be carried back to the preceding tax year if there is unused relief available for that year
  • the maximum amount that a company can attract in investment qualifying for SEIS is £150,000 in total
  • the company must not have net assets of more than £200,000 before any SEIS investment
  • an individual who makes a capital gain on another asset and uses the amount of the gain in making a SEIS investment will not pay tax on 50% of the liability for 2013/14 and beyond subject to certain conditions
  • there is a huge amount of anti-avoidance legislation to prevent exploitation for tax avoidance purposes.

Comparison to EIS

SEIS supplements the long established EIS scheme. Some aspects of both schemes are similar but there are also key differences. These are not considered in detail here, however, consider the position of the individual investor. Under EIS those investing up to £1 million receive income tax relief at up to 30%. From a tax relief perspective on investments up to £100,000, the SEIS is more favourable but it clearly cannot be used for larger investments.