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HMRC revise guidance and state that a failure to disclose the involvement of an intermediary will invalidate any assurance given

By Philip Hare
6 December 2019

HMRC have been updating their Venture Capital Relief Manual over the course of the Autumn/Winter and we spotted a revision yesterday at VCM60130 that states “Failure to disclose the involvement of an intermediary will invalidate any assurance given”. ‘Intermediary’ isn’t a defined term, but when reading the paragraphs above an intermediary would seem to include a fund manager or other business promoter or crowdfunding platform, rather than a legal advisor.

We are aware of many fund managers, promoters and crowdfunding platforms that rely on a company’s prior advance assurance (which may have been obtained prior to their involvement but for all other purposes should remain valid as long as the material facts about the company and its plans remain the same). But the revised guidance suggests that HMRC are not now of the same view and a failure to disclose an intermediary who then goes on to be involved with the company’s fundraising automatically invalidates an assurance given. Companies may therefore wish in these circumstances to re-approach HMRC to check that prior assurances remain valid after the subsequent involvement of a fund manager, promoter or crowdfunding platform.

This would seem at odds with HMRC’s desire to reduce the number of companies approaching them for advance assurance requests.

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