As part of the Budget measures, several changes were announced to both the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) scheme. These schemes are designed to help smaller higher-risk trading companies to raise finance by offering a range of tax reliefs to investors who purchase new shares in those companies.
The EIS offers generous tax reliefs including 30% income tax relief. The maximum annual amount that an individual can currently invest through the EIS is £1 million. The Chancellor announced that the current limit of £1 million will be doubled to £2 million where any amount above £1m is invested in knowledge-intensive companies.
The VCT scheme offers investor’s income tax relief of 30% on new subscriptions for ordinary shares in VCTs. The maximum amount qualifying for relief is £200,000 in each tax year. No changes were announced to this limit. These generous tax allowances are designed to off-set the fact that making investments in these types of companies can carry a high-risk.
The Chancellor also pledged to increase the annual investment limit for knowledge-intensive companies receiving investments under the EIS and from VCTs, to £10 million from the current limit of £5 million. The lifetime limit will remain the same at £20 million. There will also be changes to the company age limit when knowledge-intensive companies can begin to attract funds.
These changes will have effect on and after 6 April 2018, and will be subject to the normal state aid rules.