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For 50% tax relief, invest in a community energy share issue now (offer ends 30 Nov 2015!)

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 November 2015 at 3:05 pm

You will have noticed that we have recently been posting quite a bit of information about Community Energy.  These are schemes which are usually Community-led and often involve off-site energy generation.  Some focus more on energy efficiency, and often those which focus on generation see some of the proceeds go towards energy efficiency measures elsewhere.

Following the Government’s Community Energy Strategy, launched in 2014 and updated in March 2015, more and more individuals have bought shares in local Community Energy projects.  This has been encouraged by some substantial tax reliefs under the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.  Each of these schemes was designed to encourage investment in earlier stage or riskier companies.

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is designed to help small, early-stage companies raise equity finance by offering tax reliefs to individual investors who purchase new shares in those companies. It complements the existing Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) which offers tax reliefs to investors in higher-risk small companies. SEIS is intended to recognise the particular difficulties which very early stage companies face in attracting investment, by offering tax relief at a higher rate.

SEIS currently offers 50% tax relief with EIS 30%.  These tax reliefs have been used widely by Community Energy schemes and they make it possible for many to get the necessary investment. So, why am I writing now?  Well as with the Code for Sustainable Homes, Onshore wind projects, and the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, sadly SEIS and EIS will no longer be available.  It has been announced, in somewhat of a shock move, that these tax reliefs will no longer be available to Community Energy Projects from 30th November.

So what can you do?  If you are interested in investing in Community Energy and want to do so before 30th November there is still time. Have a look at the Sharenergy site, Crowdfunder, or this Map you'll find details of a number of live projects looking for investment which are launching in time to be eligible for the relevant tax relief.  Of course, make sure that your particular investment is eligible and make sure you read the small print.  Your investment must be made before 30th November, so get your skates on...

Photo: Pomona Solar

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