Venture Capital Trusts 

VCT blames HMRC for pulling plug on fundraising

VCT blames HMRC for pulling plug on fundraising

The changes to the VCT rules announced last year have resulted in Ingenious withdrawing its fundraising after just three weeks.

The Ingenious VCT aimed to invest in media and related assets, but announced on Friday (February 1) that it was no longer wishing to raise cash.

In a statement released to FTAdviser, a representative of the company said it halted the fundraising due to concerns that HMRC would not grant advance tax clearance for the investments the fund intended to make.

If such clearance is not received, there is a risk that shareholders in the VCT would not receive the 30 per cent income tax break that is normal for investments of this nature.

The VCT rules were altered last year as HMRC felt too many VCTs were focused on "capital preservation" rather than risk assets, and therefore were not deserving of the tax break.

FTAdviser understands the taxman is particularly sceptical of investments that focus on media, as a result of previous high profile cases of investments in film production being found to be not tax compliant.

A representative of Ingenious stated: "We have decided, with regret, to close our media EIS and VCT services to retail customers.

"This decision has been made in the interests both of financial advisers and investors and a strong pipeline of prospective investee companies.

"Our decision has been made in the light of reports coming from within the media sector, including the main trade body, which evidence widespread market uncertainty.

"We are particularly concerned about the difficulty of securing advance tax clearances for film, TV and games businesses following the implementation of a government policy review.

"We remain fully committed to investing in the media sector, of which we have long been champions, through other investment channels.

"Our Infrastructure EIS is unaffected by these issues and remains open for investment.

"In addition all of our business relief qualifying investments and Ingenious Real Estate Growth service remain open for investment."

Jason Hollands, who runs the VCT business at platform Bestinvest, said a feature of the VCT sector this year has been that investors are wary of anything away from the mainstream.  

david.thorpe@ft.com