Calculus praises benefits of EIS tax relief

The schemes are designed to help smaller higher-risk trading companies to raise finance by offering a range of tax relief to investors who purchase new shares in those companies, according to Ms McDonald.

She said EIS funds can produce a very attractive tax-free return for investors.

The news comes as Calculus launched its guide on EIS funds for first-time investors.

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Ms McDonald said: "EIS funds are perceived as being risky for investors, because they invest in smaller companies, some of which may fail completely. This is true, but there is much more to it than this.

"EIS funds spread their risk by investing in a portfolio of companies. Most funds build a portfolio of companies in different industry sectors, and at different stages of development, to spread the risk still further.

"In reality, if one or two companies out of a portfolio of 10 fail, or perform poorly yet the others perform well, you are still likely to enjoy a very good investment."

Martin Bamford, chartered financial planner for Surrey-based IFA Informed Choice, said he did not recommend the funds because of the risk factors involved.

He said: "EIS are useful as part of wider investments and tax planning and strategy. There will be comparisons between EIS and venture capital trusts because of the tax advantages and risks.

"VCTs tend to be more popular and more mainstream."