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Business Services  •  financial advice  •  Personal tax  •  Probate and Inheritance Tax  •  Small Business

What are the most tax efficient ways to obtain business finance?

By RJP LLP on 29 September, 2011

With the IMF suggesting the possibility that the UK has slipped back into recession thanks to the continuing uncertainty in the Euro zone, obtaining business finance will remain difficult for the foreseeable future. Instability requires careful risk management and it’s important for entrepreneurs to make savings wherever possible. If you are considering additional funding or actively trying to raise money, it’s worth understanding what the most tax efficient ways to raise funds for your business are.

1. Mortgage or loan

Taking out a mortgage - or a second mortgage - on your home and then lending the money to the business can be a cheap way of raising capital. Of course you will need to be comfortable offering your home as security against business borrowings, but in this case interest rates tend to be lower than they are for more conventional business loans. Some mortgages give you the flexibility to vary repayments according to your changing financial circumstances; you may be able to repay lump sums, make overpayments or underpayments, or take payment holidays. Although there is no mortgage interest relief in the UK you will be able to obtain tax relief on interest paid if the money is borrowed for allowable purposes such as buying a business interest. Currently, an ordinary bank loan, although more difficult to obtain than in the past, is still relatively cheap simply because the base rate is currently so low.


2. EIS

Your business may qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and therefore be an attractive proposition for investors seeking a tax efficient investment. Investors can claim:

  • income tax relief at 30% on the amount they subscribe for qualifying shares in an EIS registered company, up to a maximum investments of £500,000 p.a.;
  • capital gains tax –free growth; and
  • the roll-over of previous gains into the acquisition cost.

In order for your company to qualify for EIS registration it must, throughout a relevant three-year qualifying period, fulfill the following criteria:

  • be an unquoted company;
  • have only fully-paid issued shares;
  • be a trading company carrying on a qualifying trade wholly or mainly in the UK;
  • exist for genuine commercial purposes, and not be part of a scheme for the avoidance of tax; and
  • not be a 51% subsidiary of another company, or otherwise be under the control of another company.

3. R&D Relief

If your business involves research and development, it may be possible to claim R&D tax relief, aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises. Whilst this applies largely to companies working in the IT field, many other companies undertake R&D and overlook the ability to claim. Whilst this is not strictly speaking a source of finance, it is a source of support from HMRC by the provision of tax relief in excess of the amount due in relation to the expenditure incurred. Companies can save up to an additional 26% in tax for every £1 spent on R&D and from April 2012 this benefit will rise to up to 31.25%.

Whatever your plans are the important thing is to know what your options might be, appreciate what tax relief might be available and how to access it as necessary.

To find out more about funding options for business, contact Simon Paterson at





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31 July 2020 - Normally an important deadline!

All taxpayers due to make self-assessment tax payments on 31 July 2020 can now delay their payment due to the disruption caused by Coronavirus. This includes self-employed taxpayers and also company directors who pay self-assessment tax on dividend income.

Read more in our coverage of Coronavirus and business support from the Government.