Start Up_TaxAgility Accountants LondonThe SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme), put forward by Chancellor George Osborne in 2011 and formally launched in April 2012, is designed to help small, early-stage or start up companies raise equity finance by encouraging individual investors with the prospect of receiving 50% of their investment back as income tax relief.

In the eighteen months since its introduction, over 1,100 companies across the UK have raised over £82 million in funding through SEIS investment, with the average amount of investment being raised currently at £72,000, according to HMRC.

The Chancellor himself is certainly pleased with the success of the scheme so far, stating the following ahead of a visit to a company in East Anglia that successfully secured funding through SEIS:

“I want the UK to be the best place in the world to start, finance and grow a business. That’s why I’ve put in place a scheme that rewards people who get behind entrepreneurs – and am delighted that over 1000 start ups have already taken advantage of the scheme.”

In the same interview George Osborne went on to publicly reiterate his stance that start-ups form a core part of the government’s economic plan both currently and going forward, stating:

“The UK is full of budding entrepreneurs who have struggled to realise their ideas because of problems accessing finance. The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme along with Start Up Loans and The Business Angel Co-Fund – are designed to financially back start ups. And next year we are going further by introducing an employment allowance – cutting up to £2000 off every business and charity’s National Insurance Contributions bill. These measures will help start ups that create jobs, opportunities and wealth in Britain and are a key part of our economic plan.”

Who Can Receive SEIS investment?

Of course, with SEIS being generally regarded as one of the most generous tax relief schemes for start up companies in the world, it should be of no surprise to hear that there are numerous limitations and restrictions you need to be aware of, both on the side of small business owners looking for investment, and individuals looking to invest via the scheme.

For a full break-down of these restrictions, as well as a full and detailed description of what SEIS is, how it works, and what potential SEIS investment companies should consider, take a look at our dedicated Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme page.

Over £1m Invested Each Week

Despite its limitations and restrictions, HM Treasury confirms that although just 378 businesses applied for “advance assurance” from HMRC, designed to ensure individual businesses would qualify for the scheme in the first six months of its operation, since then the rise to 1,100 companies taking advantage of the scheme has been hugely encouraging, with an average of £1.3m being raised by nineteen companies each week.

Does Your Start Up Qualify?

In order to qualify for SEIS investment, your start up company needs to meet a number of criteria, including having:

  • a permanent establishment in the UK
  • been in trade for no more than two years
  • less than 25 employees
  • total assets of less than £200,000 in value
  • started a new trade in a qualifying industry

For further details, please refer to our SEIS Investment page.

For expert advice on whether your early-stage company qualifies for SEIS investment, contact us today on 020 8780 2349 or get in touch with us via our contact page to arrange a complimentary no obligation meeting.


This blog is a general summary. It should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.