Business Relief (‘BR’, also referred to as Business Relief) allows ‘Business Property’ to be passed on to the beneficiaries of an estate without being subject to Inheritance Tax.
To qualify for BR, the Business Property must have been owned for at least two years and still be held at death. BR is particularly important for business owners. For example, without BR it would often be impossible for a family business to be passed from one generation to the next. If the company was considered part of the deceased’s taxable estate, the beneficiaries would most likely be forced to sell it in order to pay the Inheritance Tax liability.
But it is not just entrepreneurs who can benefit from BR. Shares held in some types of unquoted trading companies can currently be classified as ‘Business Property’, regardless of whether the owner of the shares is directly involved in the management of the company.
EIS investments, including those available through the Oxford Capital Infrastructure EIS and Oxford Capital Growth EIS, have the potential to qualify for BR as well as EIS advantages including income tax relief and tax-free gains.
However, it is important to note that EIS investments are illiquid – if the investor dies, EIS shares will be passed to the beneficiaries who will not be able to access the capital until the company is sold (for example, through an acquisition by a larger competitor) or lists on a stock exchange.
It is also possible that EIS investments will be sold while the investor is still alive, prompting a return of capital. If the proceeds cannot be reinvested into other BR-qualifying assets before the investor dies, then the capital will not be protected from BR. By contrast, investments focused purely on BR can often be simply left in place until the investor’s death.
The Oxford Capital Estate Planning Service can be used to shelter part of your estate from Inheritance Tax.
When you invest, you acquire shares in unquoted holding companies. If you hold these shares for two years, and still hold them when you die, they could qualify for 100% relief from Inheritance Tax, through Business Relief.
The investment targets returns of between 3% and 5% per annum in the medium- to long-term, and offers investors a choice between capital accumulation and dividend income.