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‘Tax sales strategy could break VCT spirit’

An investment IFA is warning that the surge in VCTs is in danger of jeopardising the future status of the asset class.

AWD head of research Andrew Miles is concerned that the rise in the number of VCTs from 15 in April 2004 to over 40 this year means they will be seen as not acting in the spirit of enterprise in which they were introduced.

Miles thinks the tax breaks have encouraged investment in VCTs but warns that a tendency among some advisers to use them purely as a tax vehicle could lead to them ultimately being lost.

He says: “Where VCTs have previously been speculative longer-term investments, many managers are now attempting to structure arranged exits so that investors can theoretically invest their money in relatively low-risk investments for the minimum period so as not to jeopardise their income tax relief before subsequently cashing in and walking away. This would not seem to be in the spirit of the legislation.”

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