SEIS: income tax relief: company procedures: company and investor procedures: advance assurance requests: overview
HMRC operates an advance assurance facility for SEIS as it does for EIS. This facility allows companies to submit details of their plans to raise money, their structure and their activities in advance of an issue of shares, so that the SCEC (see VCM35010) can advise on whether or not the proposed share issue is likely to qualify for relief. This facility is non-statutory, and companies are not obliged to use it before shares are issued to investors.
See VCM35080+ for the statutory procedures to be followed once shares have been issued.
Based on the information provided as part of an advance assurance application, HMRC will provide an opinion as to whether we would be able to authorise the company to issue compliance certificates (forms SEIS3 - see VCM35110) were the company to carry out its intentions as described and then to submit a compliance statement (form SEIS1 - see VCM35090) following an issue of shares. This requires HMRC to form a view at the time of an advance assurance application, as to whether the conditions of the scheme would be satisfied to the extent they need to be satisfied at the point a company provides its compliance statement.
Requests can be dealt with only if they come from the company’s secretary or directors or from some person authorised by them to negotiate with HMRC on their behalf. The rules of confidentiality apply, and potential investors making enquiries about a company should address those enquiries to the company itself.
An advance assurance is given in respect of a particular issue of shares and companies should be aware that an assurance given in respect of one share issue should not be regarded as providing assurance in respect of a different share issue.
It is not necessary for the request to identify the intending subscribers, and no assurance as to the availability of relief to a particular subscriber can be given either to the company or to the subscriber in question.
Form SEIS/EIS(AA) is available on the HMRC website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/enterprise-investment-scheme-advance-assurance-application-eisseisaa for companies who wish to make an application for an advance assurance. It is not compulsory to use it but companies are recommended to do so as a useful way of giving all the information needed. To assist with the processing of an application it is helpful if the company can provide a contact telephone number in case it is necessary to discuss the application.
That form mentions that the company must be able to complete the declaration on form SEIS1 when shares are issued. Form SEIS1 is also on the website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/seis1.pdf