Q: Will the receipt by my company of some of the emergency support proposed by the Government to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus pandemic have an adverse impact on our existing and/or future investment under the SEIS/EIS/VCT regimes?

A: Existing investment under all three schemes should not be affected by the receipt of any emergency support.  Limits on investment under them are generally only affected by amounts of relevant State aid received up to the point the investment is received.  As a result, subsequent receipt of aid should not disqualify relief for investment already made.

In relation to future investment, it appears from the information available to date that the emergency support should not be classified as risk finance State aid under the EU Risk Finance Guidelines.

This means that, for both EIS and VCT reliefs, it will not count towards the limits on the amount of investment a company can raise under these schemes.  These limits are, respectively, an annual limit of £5m (£10m for knowledge-intensive companies) and a lifetime limit of £12m (£20m).

For SEIS, the position is less clear.  Its limit of £150k is reduced by any receipts which comprise de minimis (rather than risk capital) State aid.  While the most recent communication from the European Commission (19 March 2020) states that elements of the emergency support, being subsidised loans and guarantees together with grants, “can be cumulated with” de minimis State aid, it is not clear if this means it is separate from it or falls to be treated as an additional part of it.  If the latter, receipt of such supports would reduce or, if in excess of £150,000, eliminate entirely a company’s ability to raise SEIS funding for the following three years.

Related Expertise