EIS

Curve smashes crowdfunding target on CrowdCube

Amazing result from the guys at Curve in raising their target £1m fund-raise in FOUR MINUTES (!) and hitting £6m within five hours…

Seriously!?! A truly phenomenal result for the team there and, to be fair, it’s a great product (as I’ve already got a card myself and love it!).

Anyhow, most startups are not going to see these sorts of results and we shouldn’t lose sight of how far along these guys were already in their growth plans. See the video for more.

Using SEIS / EIS to boost funding

For most UK startup founders, they shouldn’t lose sight of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) to help attract and boost funding.

These are attractive tax incentives that benefit the investors directly (in income tax and capital gains tax reliefs) and you as the founder indirectly (as the investors should be more willing to invest in your company).

Unfortunately, the rules around SEIS/EIS can be complex so please reach out for help.

Read more from Curve:
https://discover.curve.app/a/fintech-curve-smashes-crowdfunding-target

Link to Crowdcube fundraising page:
https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/curve/pitches/Z1n3gb

SEIS / EIS Advance Assurance: Don’t forget..

Don’t forget that you need the names and addresses of prospective investors when applying to HMRC for advance assurance that your company is a qualifying company for the purposes of issuing shares under EIS or SEIS.

Many founders are still unaware and can end up wasting valuable time as HMRC will reject the application immediately.

The problem for many entrepreneurs is that it’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation – the investors will normally only express interest once the company has secured advance assurance from HMRC that it qualifies…

Per HMRC’s guidance:

If you’re applying for EIS or SEIS and your company:
– is raising money directly from investors: you must provide the name and address of any prospective investors
– is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) – you do not need to provide investor information
– plans to list on AIM – you must provide the name and registration number of the nominated adviser that supports its listing
– seeks investment through a fund manager or business promoter – you must provide evidence that they’ve agreed to act on your behalf and will continue to work with you
– seeks investment through a crowdfunding platform – you must provide evidence that they’ve accepted your proposal and will continue to work with you

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/venture-capital-schemes-apply-for-advance-assurance

Launching our new course on the HMRC SEIS / EIS advance assurance

Delighted to have launched our new online step by step guide to preparing and filing an Advance Assurance Application to HMRC that your company qualifies under SEIS and / or EIS!

Really brought about by popular demand and to fill a gap where some companies simply don’t have the budget to take on a professional firm to carry out the preparation work and specific advice on advance assurance applications (although I am afraid this can never be a substitute for this).

The course has been called: The SEIS / EIS Advance Assurance DIY KitIt is really aimed at founders / entrepreneurs to give them a bit of a helping hand. The hope is that for 90% of applications, this might be enough and will therefore result in huge cost and time-savings all round.

As well as a 40 min run through the form and how to complete it, we’ve also chucked in a template of a letter that we use to supplement the standard (limited!) EIS/SEISAA Form. You can use this for your application too.

Some links to further resources rounds off what is hopefully a useful addition to the startup community.

You can access this new online tutorial course on completing your SEIS / EIS advance assurance form here.

7 R&D Tax Credit Tips

  1. Don’t assume your company doesn’t qualify – even if your accountant has discounted it or perhaps not even mentioned it (in fact that might be all the more reason to check it out!)
  2. It doesn’t matter whether your company is profitable / tax paying in a financial period or loss-making – R&D tax relief can benefit you and release cash into your business in both cases
  3. Think about R&D tax relief and how it might apply to your company as early as possible. This way you can ensure that you are capturing relevant supporting information, documents and costs as you go along – rather than trying to cast your mind back and rebuild retrospectively which might lead to sub-optimal claims
  4. Don’t discount R&D tax relief if you carried out eligible activities a couple of years back thinking you’ve missed out – you can make a retrospective claim for accounting periods ending in the past two years. So at the time of writing this post (20 June 2016), say you have a 30 June financial year end then the periods ended 30 June 2014 and 30 June 2015 are still open and eligible for R&D tax credit claims.
  5.  Don’t wrestle with the definition of what activities qualify for R&D tax relief on your own – many companies wrongly count themselves out when a quick chat with a R&D tax specialist might have helped them understand how they do qualify. Many company owners are stunned at the breadth of the R&D tax relief.
  6. Don’t think you have to leave your current accountant to access specialist R&D tax advice – most R&D specialists will supplement the good work your accountant is already doing for you with their specialist R&D tax services so this needn’t upset your ongoing accountancy support relationship.
  7. Think about how the UK R&D tax incentive can fit into your overall funding profile – so tax advantaged funding such as SEIS / EIS can typically be used in harmony with the R&D tax incentive. Watch out for grants as these can impact adversely on the levels of tax relief available under the R&D tax incentive. Cash tax breaks such as the Patent Box can be used alongside the R&D tax relief. As you can see, thinking about how this can all fit together sooner rather than later will help optimise available funding.

SEIS / EIS: When it pays to be Ordinary!

I know it’s not cool to aim for being ‘ordinary’ and its not a label that you’ll want attached to your business but when it comes to your SEIS / EIS shares this is exactly the label you want – ordinary shares.

SEIS / EIS shares must be ordinary non-redeemable shares and carry no preferential rights to dividends or assets on a winding-up.

If you have institutional or other non SEIS / EIS investors then things can become more complex, if they say want preferential rights in relation to certain aspects of the business.

In this scenario, differing share classes would typically come into play with say ‘A’ shares for the founders, ‘B’ shares for VCs (both classes may have some preferential rights to varying degrees) and ‘C’ shares for SEIS / EIS investors – these being the ‘highest risk’ ordinary shares.

No one-size fits all but this gives you an idea. If you are going to go down the road of different share classes then bear in mind that this will require formal legal procedures to give effect plus amendments to the Articles of Association of the company (this goes beyond the scope of this course – get yourself a decent lawyer!).

This is a just one of a series of emails from our SEIS / EIS course – you can subscribe to the course below:

SEIS / EIS is on the rise!

Judging by the rapid uptake in the number of calls and enquiries we are receiving on a weekly basis from entrepreneurs and founders looking to ensure that their company is SEIS / EIS tax ready – I think it is fair to say that SEIS / EIS tax benefits are now getting the attention they deserve!

So if you are a star company looking for rapid growth and you’re in search of investment, then you really need to get up to speed with the tax benefits that SEIS / EIS government tax incentives can potentially bring you.

I’m afraid to say that it can be quite complex in parts – good news is that we’ve set up an email course to help you swot up!

You can access it here:

Not just SEIS has trading timelimits – EIS does too!

The requirement for a company to have a ‘new qualifying trade’ (i.e. trading for less than two years) in order to qualify under SEIS is now fairly well trodden ground.

Less well trodden is the new requirement for EIS qualifying companies to have commenced trading (had first commercial sale) within the past seven years (there is an extension to 10 years for knowledge intensive companies). This applies to EIS shares issued from 18 November 2015.

There are various potential exclusions to this rule, but particularly pernicious are the rules related to groups – what about this for an example:

Company E was incorporated on 1 February 2016. It used private investments to acquire the issued share capital of company F on 1 March 2016.

Company F was incorporated on 1 February 2014 to trade as a brewery. Its first commercial sale was made on 1 June 2014. On 1 March 2015 company F acquired a pub which had started to trade on 1 April 2005.

Company E’s first commercial sale was therefore on 1 April 2005 and it does not meet the basic age condition

Source HMRC

Seems fairly tenuous and serves to show just how careful companies will need to be in carrying out their due diligence regarding their qualifying status under EIS prior to issuing shares.

SEIS / EIS – A simple issue, yet often not easy…

It might be useful to revisit one crucial factor in planning for SEIS / EIS:

The issue of new ordinary shares in exchange for a cash investment.

Simple, right?

Then day-to-day reality steps in….

The shares are issued before the cash has cleared – oops!

The shares are issued way after the cash has cleared – oops!

HMRC could contend that in the first case the cash could never have been for the shares as they were issued before the cash cleared (two unrelated transactions, in their eyes) and in the latter case that it was a loan conversion – neither qualify.

What’s the solution?

Arrange so that the shares are issued on the same day as the cash clears in the company bank account. There can then be little argument over what the cash was for.

Simple; rarely easy!

This post is a sample from our SEIS / EIS training course that you can access by subscribing below: