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Funding Guides Published:  Jun 22, 2018 3 min read

What is Advance Assurance?

Advance Assurance is approval from HMRC that an investment in your company is likely to qualify for tax relief. Advance Assurance does not guarantee that your investment will meet the conditions, but you can use it to attract investors by showing investors your proposed investment is likely to qualify.

Is it a legal requirement?

Advance Assurance is not a legal requirement to qualify for the scheme or even to bring on board investors. It is used as a way to give investors confidence in your investment and that the investment is likely to give them tax benefits.

Please be aware that HMRC Advance Assurance is definitely not a guarantee that your investment will qualify for a scheme. Advance Assurance will also not tell you if your investors meet the conditions of the venture capital scheme. It helps to think of Advance Assurance more like an assurance that your investment is not directly disqualified.

Nevertheless, it’s still one of the most sought after documents prospective investors in your company will want to see. Around 2/3s of UK angel investors won’t invest a company if they think they might not qualify.

Advance Assurance can be obtained for schemes such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)  Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) and Venture Capital Trust (VCT) investment schemes.

How to apply for SEIS / EIS Advance Assurance

You can apply for Advance Assurance directly with HMRC or via SeedLegals. SeedLegals is currently the UK’s no.1 one destination for startups to secure SEIS / EIS Advance Assurance, with an approval rate of 97% compared with the 68% industry average. Our combined expert support and automated workflow help to streamline the process. Our SEIS experts are with you every step of the way and can guide you through the process from start to finish. At the end of the process once your documents are finalised, we will also submit on your behalf on HMRC’s website. Just sign up and complete the Advance Assurance application form to get started here. 

What are the criteria for applying for Advance Assurance and what do you need to apply?

There are some eligibility criteria that you must meet before you can apply for advance assurance.

When you’ve confirmed that you’re eligible and you start your application, you’ll need to demonstrate that you fulfil the SEIS criteria. This includes:

  • date your company started trading
  • details of any SEIS investments you’ve taken previously
  • three-year business plan with financial forecast
  • your response to the risk to capital condition
  • Usually this will be a brief SWOT analysis.
  • name, address and intended amount of investment of at least one potential investor if you haven’t previously received Venture Capital Scheme investment. This criterion takes some applicants by surprise. The person you list here doesn’t need to be committed to invest – this requirement is just to deter speculative applications

You’ll also need these supporting documents:

  • latest company bank statements or accounts
  • current company Memorandum and Articles of Association
    pitch deck. This can be the same as the deck you show potential investors.
  • financial forecast. You should submit your forecast for three years from the date of your application and show you need the investment.
  • documents confirming previous investments or grants

Where to send the Advance Assurance form

You can submit you Advanced Assurance online to HMRC, or if you choose SeedLegals as your agent we’ll submit on your behalf.

How long does Advance Assurance last?

Your Advance Assurance does not have any particular expiry date. It will lapse if there are any changes to your company’s situation that make it no longer match the criteria for SEIS/EIS eligibility.

However, it is important to keep in mind that there are still certain circumstances in which an Advance Assurance can expire… and there are ways to extend these limits!

How long do HMRC take to approve SEIS Advance Assurance?

It’s usually 6-8 weeks for HMRC to approve an SEIS/ EIS application though we usually see ours being approved in 2-3 weeks, here at SeedLegals.

Hit the chat feature to speak to a member of the SeedLegals team about submitting your Advance Assurance application.

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