I have been doing this a long time, but…

Every day is a school day. I am sure you will understand what this is all about. In our line of work, it is especially true as the tax system evolves in its normal chaotic way, the same as it has been doing for many, many years. I don’t suppose that is going to change anytime soon. So, as the Government tinker and introduce more complexity, so we must get to grips with what it all means. That’s what makes our work so interesting.

Sometimes you get to do things that you either have never done before or have not done for a while. And by the nature of the tax system something will have changed. It’s just a matter of figuring out what. It was like that recently. I was setting up an EMI Scheme. These animals have been around for many years but have evolved over the years although the fundamentals are still much the same. You grant options (it’s not that scary to do!) so that certain employees can, if they choose, buy shares in the future but at the value they are today.

EMI share options are frequently only taken up at the point that the company is being sold. They are effectively bought and sold at the same time, with the option only being exercised quite late. The gain attracts significant tax advantages, which is in large part why we use EMI share options.

There are all sorts of funny rules including the requirement for you to be employed by the company for 25 hours every week or 75% of your working time. Anything with a tax advantage always has plenty of rules and restrictions.

So, I have been overseeing the preparation of the EMI share option agreements for each shareholder, preparing the paperwork for approval of the scheme by the shareholders in General Meeting and minuting the Boards meeting at which the EMI options were approved for issue. I have also registered the scheme with HMRC. All good fun and things I have not done in a while, so a bit of head scratching at times.

Next, I must re-acquaint myself with the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) which should help to attract new investment to the same company. It’s a shame that SEIS is not available here because the 50% tax relief on the share price would have been nice, but you cannot have everything. So, as long as the EIS is enough to tempt sufficient outside investors, everyone will be happy.

In amongst all of this, I must complete a couple of projections and get my billing caught up. You cannot say it is not interesting and varied. However, I could do with 36 hours in every day to give me time to get all of this done. Oh, and I nearly forgot. I must get the content of our weekly newsletter over to Lauren at Adder Business so that she can get it all formatted and circulated across various media for us.

I can remember the days when I went into the office and prepared sets of accounts. At the time it was fine but I must admit that these days I do like the variety. No two days are the same and there are challenges both technical and logistical at every turn.

So, what about you? I imagine that what you do day to day has also evolved over the years. The environment in which you work may have changed out of all recognition with the advance of technology. Some of you will operate businesses that just could not have existed years ago. So websites, digital marketing, IT, have all come into existence from nowhere just because the technology requires them. Adder Business is just one example. I met with Kai McAulay from  IDM last week. IDM sell renewable technologies such as solar panels. They did not exist a few years ago. Others have disappeared, others are slowly fading away.

I am meeting with Douglas Greig of Highland Print and Design later in the week. He is a printer but these days it is all digital and he has the equipment to cope. The whole setup is far removed from the old style printing presses. On top of that, he and his team provide graphic design services to complement the printing.

I must admit that I like to see things moving on and developing. It can be a challenge. Sometimes it feels like you are riding a galloping horse desperately trying to hang on. But that’s the fun of it all.

Anyway, you know what they say, that the only constant is change. Bring it on!

Alan E Long

The Long Partnership

07770 738770



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