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Investor Guide

SEIS Tax Reliefs

When investing into UK startups, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) offers a range of especially generous tax reliefs for investors keen to minimise the risk and maximise the returns of their venture capital investments.

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Which tax reliefs does the SEIS provide?

5 Powerful Tax Incentives

Renowned for its host of tax reliefs, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme has been popularised for its ability to drive startup growth and innovation with the help of attractive tax incentives ranging from 50% income tax relief to capital gains reinvestment relief.

Offering some of the most generous tax incentives available in the UK alternative investment space, the SEIS's five main tax reliefs primarily serve to minimise the risk and maximise the returns associated with investing in startups, whilst facilitating additional portfolio diversification and tax planning benefits. 

1. Income Tax Relief

50% Income Tax Relief up to £60,000

Offering 50% income tax relief on SEIS investments up to £200,000 per tax year (should shares have been held for at least three years), the SEIS's headline level of tax relief is even more considerable than the 30% offered by its sibling scheme - the Enterprise Investment Scheme.

Included to help offset a proportion of the risk commonly attached with investing in startups, this incentive alone can allow investors to claim up to £50,000 back in tax per annum (providing income tax eligibility is met).

Alongside having the option to claim income tax relief for the year that the investment was made, SEIS carry back relief can allow an investor to treat the investment as though it was made the year prior and thus claim 50% income tax relief for that year instead. 

For example: if an investor pledges £40,000 into an SEIS investment opportunity - once the SEIS3 form is received following the issuing of shares - they will then have the option to claim up to £20,000 back from their current or the previous tax year's income tax bill.

In order to 
claim SEIS income tax relief, investors have the option to either submit their completed SEIS3 form to HMRC and have the tax relief deducted from their PAYE income (where applicable) or include the details of their investment(s) when completing an annual tax return (to which the SEIS3 form will be provided as supporting documentation).

2. Tax Free Growth

Gains 100% Exempt from CGT

Another tax advantage mirrored by both the EIS and SEIS, capital gains tax relief means that any gain realised in the value of SEIS shares come the point of disposal is 100% free of CGT.

Not being liable to the usual 20% CGT charge (or 28% in the case of property sales) due in the UK when disposing of assets as an higher/additional rate taxpayer, SEIS investments have the power to considerably reduce an investor's tax bill, and in doing so further maximise the significant returns startup investments have the potential to generate. 

For example: if an investor pledges £40,000 in an SEIS investment opportunity, and their shares grow in value to £120,000 at the point of disposal, the £80,000 gain (that in the case of most assets would be liable to a £16,000 deduction) will be 100% free of capital gains tax.

To qualify for CGT exemption, SEIS shares must have been held for a minimum of three years either from the date they were issued or the official commencement of trading (whichever is later) and throughout that three year term the portfolio company must continue to remain within the bounds of SEIS eligibility.

Being classified as an exempt gain and therefore an automatic relief, any gain from an SEIS investment is not required to be included in your usual disposal proceeds, but should you follow the route of filing an annual tax return, details of the investment should be included in the capital gains summary form. 

3. CGT Reinvestment Relief

Halving the CGT due from any Chargeable Asset

One of the scheme's lesser understood, but perhaps most rewarding tax reliefs, SEIS reinvestment relief allows investors to reduce the CGT they're due on any chargeable asset (elsewhere than the SEIS) by up to 50%, should this gain be reinvested into SEIS qualifying shares.

Providing investors with the opportunity to halve the capital gains tax they pay when disposing of chargeable assets ranging from stocks, to property, to personal possessions worth more than £6,000, SEIS reinvestment relief has the ability to significantly reduce investor tax bills.

For example: should a higher rate taxpayer sell a property (other than their first home) and make a £100,000 gain, where usually they would be liable to pay £28,000 in capital gains tax, SEIS reinvestment relief would halve this payment to £14,000 should the full sum of the gain be reinvested into an SEIS investment opportunity.

To receive the full 50% reinvestment relief, the entire sum of the gain must be reinvested, should any less be reinvested, relief will be limited to half of the amount invested. Importantly, in order to claim SEIS reinvestment relief, investors must have already claimed income tax relief on their SEIS investment for that year.

4. Inheritance Tax Relief

Negating the 40% IHT due on UK Estates

All SEIS investments are entirely inheritance tax-free, meaning investors can pass down the full value of their shares without the threat of being charged 40% IHT should their estate be valued over £325,000 (the UK's current maximum IHT-free threshold).

A tax relief available due to the SEIS' eligibility for UK Business Property Relief (BPR), full inheritance tax exemption is unlocked for investors once shares have been held for at least two years (five years less than the minimum holding period required for many other IHT planning tools such as gifts or trusts). 

For example: if an investor already exceeding the £325,000 IHT nil-rate band pledges £200,000 in SEIS shares two years before passing, rather than having to forfeit £80,000 of that sum in inheritance tax, they can pass the full value of their shares on IHT and CGT free.

IHT relief is obtained by claiming business relief (BR). A claim for BR is normally made during the settlement of the shareholder’s estate, whereby the executors will need to complete a copy of probate return form IHT 412 and return this to HMRC as part of the overall probate process. HMRC will then assess the claim.

5. Loss Relief

Minimising Startup Investment Risk

Acting as an insurance policy to further minimise the risks investing in startups can pose, SEIS loss relief is another tax relief shared by both the SEIS and the EIS, that allows investors to offset any potential losses against their marginal rate of income tax or capital gains tax.

To calculate SEIS loss relief, first you must find your effective loss (the original investment minus the return realised and any income tax relief that has already been claimed). From there you can either multiply that figure by your marginal rate of IHT or CGT to find how much of the SEIS relief you are due.

For example: if a higher rate taxpayer invests £40,000 in an SEIS opportunity, realises £10,000 in returns, and has already claimed £20,000 in income tax relief,  their effective loss of £10,000 could then be multiplied by their 45% rate of income tax to claim back a further £4,500 in loss relief, making their total net loss just £5,500.

Whilst additional personal tax circumstances can be considered when claiming SEIS loss relief, in essence the process is relatively straightforward and can be carried out by completing the SA108 form on an online or paper self-assessment form once SEIS3 forms have been received.

Our Most Recent SEIS-eligible Opportunities

Our Most Recent SEIS-eligible Opportunities

Having hosted a number of SEIS-eligible investment rounds for a range of portfolio companies residing in a variety of industries, at GCV we possess a wealth of experience in originating and facilitating growth-focused, impact-driven SEIS investment opportunities

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Round 1


Sector: HR Tech
Target Sought: £ 150,000
Funds Raised: £ 303,000
Round: Round 1
Investment Type: Equity
Tax Schemes: EIS, SEIS
Learn More about Hive.Hr
Round 1

Intelligence Fusion

Sector: SaaS
Target Sought: £ 400,000
Funds Raised: £ 556,800
Round: Round 1
Investment Type: Equity
Tax Schemes: EIS, SEIS
Learn More about Intelligence Fusion
Round 1

Sector: SaaS
Target Sought: £ 150,000
Funds Raised: £ 170,000
Round: Round 1
Investment Type: Equity
Tax Schemes: EIS, SEIS
Learn More about
Round 1

Business Finance Market (trading as Finance Nation)

Sector: Fintech & Banking
Target Sought: £ 150,000
Funds Raised: £ 225,000
Round: Round 1
Investment Type: Equity
Tax Schemes: EIS, SEIS
Learn More about Business Finance Market (trading as Finance Nation)
Round 1

Growth Capital Ventures

Sector: Fintech
Target Sought: £ 500,000
Funds Raised: £ 561,000
Round: Round 1
Investment Type: Equity
Tax Schemes: EIS, SEIS
Learn More about Growth Capital Ventures
Round 2

Growth Capital Ventures

Sector: Fintech
Target Sought: £ 1,000,000
Funds Raised: £ 1,290,410
Round: Round 2
Investment Type: Equity
Tax Schemes: EIS, SEIS
Learn More about Growth Capital Ventures

Free Investor Guide

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

For investors interested in supporting growth-focused, impact-driven startups, the SEIS is one of the most generous tax incentives to aid in maximising returns and minimising risk.
This free guide gives an in-depth insight into how the SEIS can enable you to:
    • Access 50% income tax relief
    • Claim 50% capital gains reinvestment relief
    • Pay zero capital gains tax when selling SEIS shares
    • Pass on your investment free of inheritance tax
    • Claim loss relief should an unexpected event arise
SEIS Investment Guide-2
Don't invest unless you're prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment and you are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong.
Risk Summary

Estimated reading time: 2 min

Due to the potential for losses, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considers this investment to be high risk.

What are the key risks?

  • You could lose all the money you invest
  • Most investments are shares in start-up businesses or bonds issued by them. Investors in these shares or bonds often lose 100% of the money they invested, as most start-up businesses fail.
  • Checks on the businesses you are investing in, such as how well they are expected to perform, may not have been carried out by the platform you are investing through. You should do your own research before investing.

You won't get your money back quickly

  • Even if the business you invest in is successful, it will likely take several years to get your money back.
  • The most likely way to get your money back is if the business is bought by another business or lists its shares on an exchange such as the London Stock Exchange. These events are not common.
  • Start-up businesses very rarely pay you back through dividends. You should not expect to get your money back this way.
  • Some platforms may give you the opportunity to sell your investment early through a 'secondary market' or 'bulletin board', but there is no guarantee you will find a buyer at the price you are willing to sell.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

  • Putting all your money into a single business or type of investment for example, is risky. Spreading your money across different investments makes you less dependent on any one to do well. A good rule of thumb is not to invest more than 10% of your money in high-risk investments. Learn more here.

The value of your investment can be reduced

  • If your investment is shares, the percentage of the business that you own will decrease if the business issues more shares. This could mean that the value of your investment reduces, depending on how much the business grows. Most start-up businesses issue multiple rounds of shares.
  • These new shares could have additional rights that your shares don't have, such as the right to receive a fixed dividend, which could further reduce your chances of getting a return on your investment.

You are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong

  • Protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), in relation to claims against failed regulated firms, does not cover poor investment performance. Try the FSCS investment protection checker.
  • Protection from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) does not cover poor investment performance. If you have a complaint against an FCA-regulated platform, FOS may be able to consider it. Learn more about FOS protection here.

If you are interested in learning more about how to protect yourself, visit the FCA's website here.

For further information about investment-based crowdfunding, visit the crowdfunding section of the FCA's website here.

Driving Growth.
Creating Value.
Delivering Impact.

Backed by

Growth Capital Ventures (GCV) is backed by funds managed by Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s leading private equity and alternative asset managers.