EIS / SEIS Advance Assurance

We can help you with your EIS / SEIS application. We are specialists and work with various start-up organisations worldwide.

Call 01206 615 010 to kickstart your application.

Guide to Applying for EIS or SEIS Advance Assurance

How Does the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Work?

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is a UK government-led resource that helps emergent, up-and-coming businesses find investors. The Enterprise Investment Scheme works by granting tax relief for those who choose to invest in businesses that are part of the scheme. This entices these private investors to take a chance on new companies. The EIS is full of potential for both businesses and investors, as both sides benefit from the advantages.

Studies show that the majority of angel investors are only willing to invest in companies that are covered by the EIS. Those that qualify for the scheme are therefore more likely to invite lucrative investments that both support and fund their business goals.

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) Explained

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is a comparable scheme that works under similar guidelines. The SEIS, however, is based around boosting investments for very new start-up businesses.

EIS Guidelines for Businesses

The EIS comes with many guidelines that you must adhere to if you’d like to benefit from the scheme. If you fail to stick to these rules within 3 years of an EIS investment, your investor(s) will lose all tax relief advantages.

  • You can make up to £12 million from investors as part of the EIS scheme
  • You may only receive up to £5 million in funding each year (including other forms of investments, such as alternative government aid programmes)
  • EIS money must be invested into your business, for growth and development purposes
  • There must be some risks to the investor associated with the investment
  • EIS shares will not go towards purchasing other businesses
    The money must be spent on your business within 24 months of the investment being made. If you began trading after the investment was put forward, the money must be spent within 24 months from when you began trading instead.
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EIS Guidelines for Investors

All investors wishing to participate in EIS must be UK taxpayers. There are many benefits to EIS for investors, as the nature of the scheme is to encourage investments into medium-sized businesses.

  • Up to £1 million can be invested each tax year
  • When investing, the investor cannot be related to the company through any level of employment
  • Despite the above, once the EIS investment is made, there is the potential for the investor to become director of the company
  • They will receive income tax relief to a value of 30% of the funds they invested under the scheme
  • The profit from selling any shares (held for at least three years) will not be charged with any capital gains tax
    Investors can avoid paying capital gains tax by investing the money into EIS instead. This can be done 1 year in advance of the gains, or 3 years later.
  • Inheritance tax is annulled as long as shares are kept for over 2 years
  • The investor will receive an income tax break if the sale of any shares results in them losing money on the initial investment. This helps counterbalance any potential losses.

EIS / SEIS Advance Assurance

Lost? We’ve got dedicated SEIS / EIS specialists who can help you to understand the ins and outs of EIS / SEIS Advance Assurance.

Call 01206 615 010 to kickstart your application.

EIS and SEIS Application Process

Before issuing any shares under EIS and SEIS, you should apply for ‘advance assurance’ for each investment from the government. This is where you provide HMRC with the information they need to determine whether the investment could be covered under EIS.

Their decision is what you’ll show to your investor, providing proof that they should be covered under EIS or SEIS once they have made their investment. Keep in mind that advance assurance does not let you know whether the investments themselves are covered by the schemes – only that your company meets the requirements.

Checking Your Eligibility for EIS and SEIS Advance Assurance

Not all companies are eligible for these schemes. The following are lists of criteria the government check companies for to be considered. The immediate list includes criteria for applying for both SEIS and EIS. We’ll then go on to differentiate between the specific guidelines for SEIS and then EIS respectively.

To Apply for EIS / SEIS, you must:

  • Be permanently established in the UK
  • Not be an LLP business (limited partnership)

Some of the rules for applying for SEIS and EIS are different.

Alongside the above, for SEIS, you must:

  • Have no more than 25 employees
  • Have less than £200,000 in assets (before any SEIS money is awarded)
  • Have been trading for under 2 years before dispensing SEIS shares

Alongside the above, for EIS, you must:

  • Have no more than 250 employees
  • Have less than £15 million total in assets (before any EIS money is awarded)
  • Have been trading for under 7 years before dispensing EIS shares

Find Your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) Identification Number

This is the number you are sent when you have registered your business with Companies House. If you have lost your UTR, it can be requested from the .gov website. It then takes around 7 days to receive.

Work on Your 3-Year Business Plan and Forecasting Finances

To apply for both SEIS and EIS Advance Assurance, you must include detailed plans for the future of your business. If you are unfamiliar with creating business plans or forecasting, we can help.

Include Potential Investor Names and Details

You might not be sure that an investor is going to invest before they see Advance Assurance. However, HMRC requires you to include at least one investor’s information to apply for Advance Assurance in the first place.

This can be the information of a potential investor, so they don’t need to fully commit to investment funds yet. The investor’s name and their investment intention can be edited further down the line.

Determine Your Trading Date

You must provide your initial trading date to HMRC when applying for Advance Assurance.

SEIS – requires you to issue shares within 2 years of trading.
EIS – requires you to issue shares within 7 years of trading.

Unless you are known as what we call a ‘Knowledge Intensive Company’. The time frame then increases to 10 years.

Remember that the date you started trading is not the same date you registered the company. It can be, however, this is uncommon as companies are usually registered before they begin trading.

You can apply for EIS and SEIS Advance Assurance if you have not yet begun trading. This should be outlined in the files you attach to your application.

Figure Out Any ‘De Minimis Aid’ Received (Government or University Grants)

This is any relatively small amount of money you have been granted since the beginning of your business. This is usually from the government or universities as they set out to help provide you with funds to get started. You need to declare this in your application, along with supporting documents. This is because the amount you received may need to be reduced from the maximum amount of investment money you can raise.

SEIS – you can receive up to £150,000 in investments.
EIS – you can receive up to £12 million. For example, if you already raised £100,000 in de minimis aid, you can only raise a further £11.9 million under EIS.

Write Your Cover Letter

HMRC reviewers will go through thousands of applications for EIS and SEIS. You want to make the process easier for them, so a cover letter should bring all essential information to their direct attention.

Your EIS Advance Assurance Cover Letter should include:

  • A summary of the company – USP, achievements, goals for the future
  • Any funding round documentation and details (both past and upcoming)
  • Investor details – name, the intended amount of investment
  • Company financial summary

At Acquisition Agency, we know exactly what HMRC are looking for as they filter through the many applications they receive. We can help you put together a convincing cover letter, underlining exactly what the assessor is trying to find out about your company. Let us help them help you!

Include All Necessary Documentation

If you choose to work with Acquisition Agency in completing your Advance Assurance application, you can sit back at this stage and rest assured that we’ve got all the details covered.

If you are taking care of the application yourself, you need to include:

  • Cover Letter (this includes all the information outlined above, from the investor details to funding round documentation)
  • Business Plan – 3 Years
  • Financial Forecast
  • Bank Statements and Accounts
  • Details of Prior Investments and Any De Minimis Grants

Complete Your HMRC Advance Assurance Application – VCSAA v1.0

Once all the aforementioned documents are collected, it’s time to work on the application form. If you’re looking for support with this, Acquisition Agency can help put everything together.

The application and all related documents should be emailed to HMRC at enterprise.centre@hmrc.gov.uk
Each file should be attached as an individual PDF.

These documents and your application can also be posted via mail, however, the process of emailing involves much less admin time. Going via the email route will get your application processed faster, in our experience.

Now that your SEIS / EIS Advance Assurance Application is complete, you can sit back and wait. Your application for EIS or SEIS should be processed by HMRC in approximately 2 – 6 weeks.

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