Business investment relief relaxations

HMRC has recently updated its guidance on business investment relief (BIR), and this gives the opportunity to remind readers about this relief and recent changes. 

Some of the BIR rules have been changed with effect from 6 April 2017 as part of the changes to the non-UK domiciliary rule changes from that date. The changes were in the main to make the relief more attractive to encourage the investment of more funds into the UK. 

Bringing funds into the UK from abroad could attract a UK tax charge if the funds contain income and gains that have not been liable to UK tax, but provided the rules for BIR are followed funds can be brought into the UK without a tax charge. 

In order for the foreign income or gains to qualify for relief from UK tax, the following conditions must be met: 

  • the investment is a qualifying investment made in a target company, within 45 days of the foreign income and gains being brought to the UK, and
  • the taxpayer must claim relief from UK tax under this provision as part of their self assessment tax return. 

Details of BIR can be found in the HMRC manuals

Changes include: 

  • an extension of the time limit from two years to five years for the target company receiving the investment to start trading and,
  • if there has been an extraction of value from the company mitigating steps can be taken to avoid losing the relief but there will be no extraction of value if the payment received by the relevant person for a disposal is:
    • subject to income tax or corporation tax or would be if the relevant person were liable to such tax or
    • paid or provided to the relevant person in the ordinary course of business and on arm’s length terms. 

The relaxations from 6 April 2017 are listed on GOV.UK at Business Investment Relief. This page was updated on 14 February 2018 to make it clear that although the changes apply from 6 April 2017 they are only for new investments made post 5 April 2017. The old rules still apply to investments made before 6 April 2017.