SEIS and EIS ― overview

Produced by Tolley

The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • SEIS and EIS ― overview
  • Raising finance through SEIS and EIS
  • Using EIS and SEIS to attract investors
  • Worked examples to compare EIS and SEIS tax relief
  • Key differences between EIS and SEIS
  • Link to articles ― EIS and SEIS
  • Summary of guidance notes

SEIS and EIS ― overview

The seed enterprise investment scheme (SEIS) and enterprise investment scheme (EIS) are very similar schemes which offer substantial tax incentives to investors in companies which qualify. The tax incentives for SEIS and EIS investments are intended to encourage investment in high-risk, small, unquoted companies that may find it difficult to raise finance without the tax incentives being offered.

There are stringent conditions imposed upon companies wishing to qualify for the scheme. Tax advice on the schemes should be undertaken and supervised by a suitably experienced practitioner. Terms of engagement for SEIS and EIS work should be carefully drafted in particular because conditions are tested on an ongoing basis. Therefore, tax advisers should ensure that they limit their liability in respect of any future action taken by the company which could affect qualification for the schemes.

There are no particular tax reliefs available to the company. The tax reliefs are intended for the investor to incentivise investment in a high-risk, early stage company. The availability of tax relief, together with a solid business plan, is a strong draw for investors. Many investors are sophisticated serial investors.

See also the EIS, SEIS and Social Enterprise Reinvestment relief and Gains and Losses on EIS and SEIS shares videos for useful summaries of the regimes.

Raising finance through SEIS and EIS

SEIS focuses investment in the very early stage, new businesses that may face particular difficulties in raising finance as they are seen as being very high-risk. EIS is also intended for small companies but they can be a little larger and a little older than those for which SEIS is intended. The schemes are very similar to facilitate seamless growth through financing being raised first through SEIS and then further follow on financing being raised through EIS.

The process in brief is that the company first meets the conditions required by the SEIS / EIS legislation to become a qualifying company and it then issues shares which also meet

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