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Inheritance Tax bill cut by 12%, or £710m, through investing in unlisted companies including AIM – record high

A new report from national accountancy group UHY Hacker Young highlights the tax saving benefits of investing in AIM quoted companies – there are considerable investment benefits as well!

According to UHY Hacker Young, HMRC forecasts show that the value of “Business Property Relief” is expected to rise 8% in 2017/18, from £655m in 2016/17.

Taxpayers are expected to reduce their Inheritance Tax (IHT) bills by 12% over the next year, or a record £710m in 2017/18, through investments made in unlisted companies and other business assets, says UHY Hacker Young.

Investments in qualifying AIM listed companies, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and other private companies have become increasingly popular over recent years as these assets are often exempt from IHT.

Investors have also benefited from exceptional investment gains as AIM has materially outperformed the main stock market over the past few years. This is reflected in the outstanding performance of AIM portfolios managed by Fundamental Asset Management and other providers.

– Scope to use BPR further

Latest figures show that taxpayers paid £5.3bn in inheritance tax in the last year to February 28 2018, up from £4.7bn in 2016/17*, suggesting that there is scope to use BPR to further lessen tax bills.

Mark Giddens, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, says: “The Government has reduced the scope of legitimate tax planning opportunities over the years especially for higher earners – so the few that are left are increasingly popular.”

“Encouraging investment in AIM shares and other unlisted companies is good for the broader economy as they create growth and jobs.”

“High inheritance tax bills have become a concern but there are steps that can be taken to cut the tax bill.”

The Publications section of our website contains more information on our high performing AIM portfolio service

 

 


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AIM for the end of the tax year

AIM, the London Stock Exchange’s international market for smaller growing companies has delivered terrific performance over the past 12 months, highlighting its growing maturity and the hugely improved quality of its constituent companies. We would strongly encourage investors seeking exposure to growing, profitable, cash generative, dividend paying smaller quoted companies to take a closer look at AIM this ISA season. If one adds the Inheritance Tax benefits, especially in an ISA wrapper, many AIM companies make a compelling investment proposition.

While the FTSE100 has risen an admirable 20% over the past 12 months to date, the AIM All Share Index has eclipsed this with a rise of 29%. Inheritance Tax planning portfolios also continue to outperform and offer greatly improved liquidity compared with many years ago.

At the end of February 2017 there were 973 companies on AIM with the total market value £86.8bn, resulting in an average market capitalisation per AIM company of just over £89m. Looking back 12 months to February 2016 and AIM’s total market capitalisation was only £68.6bn but there were 1,029 companies, resulting in an average market cap per company of only £66.7m.

While there have been a large number of departures from AIM over the past 12 months, including several high quality companies like Fyffes, the importer of tropical produce, which was taken over in February, the vast number of leavers were perennial under-achievers whose time was up! For the first time in many months, February 2017 encouragingly also saw AIM new arrivals match cancellations with 5 departures and 5 genuine new arrivals.

Looking back again 12 months to 2016 and there were 4 AIM companies with market capitalisations over £1bn, with the aggregate market value of these £7.3bn. By comparison, at the end of February 2017 there were 8 AIM companies with market capitalisations of over £1bn with an aggregate value of £14.4bn.

A glance at the lower of end of AIM also supports our view of the improving quality of the market.
Back in February 2016 there were 232 companies (22.5% of the number of companies on AIM) with market capitalisations no greater than £5m. Fast-forward 12 months and this has fallen to 171 companies or 17.5% of the total at the end of February 2017.

However, the statistics don’t tell the true story. It’s the nature of AIM’s larger constituent companies that is really encouraging. Looking back further to 2011 and AIM’s Top 50 companies were dominated by mining and oil and gas companies, many of which were operating in faraway places and consuming vast amounts of cash. The Top 50 of 2017 is now dominated by profitable, cash generative companies that will be familiar to many, notably retailers ASOS and boohoo.com, the soft drinks groups Nichols (Vimto) and Fevertree Drinks and Breedon Group, the largest independent construction materials group in the UK.

While many companies in the Top 50 have significant operations overseas and are therefore currently enjoying a nice currency boost due to the weakness of Sterling, the management and centre of operations are predominantly UK based. This offers confidence to investors who may want to meet with management or carry out company visits – it’s certainly a lot easier assessing the investment merits of a retailer compared with that of an explorer in some far-off land!

The share prices of many of AIM’s largest companies have risen strongly over the past few months suggesting the valuations of some now appear somewhat stretched, however there are also plenty of more compelling opportunities among AIM’s smaller companies that are worthy of greater attention. Substantial AIM businesses like family controlled Watkin Jones Group, one of the UK’s leading construction and development companies or Smart Metering Systems who connects, owns and operates gas and electricity meters on behalf of major energy companies could have a very bright future.

Our AIM for Inheritance Tax planning portfolios can be accessed through our platform with Jarvis Investments or via the Elevate, Transact, Nucleus and Standard Life wrap platforms.

Take a closer look at AIM this ISA season!