It was recently reported that Sirius Minerals is to move from the Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) to the main market of the London Stock Exchange. Sirius’ shares are expected to cease trading on AIM on 28 April.
Why are we telling you this? Because it reminds us to remind you of the inheritance tax (“IHT”) consequences of such a move. The point is this: unlike shares quoted on the main market, shares listed on AIM have the potential to qualify for 100% IHT Business Property Relief once they have been owned for two years; on death this is as good as an exemption. To be clear – this is not to say that all AIM-listed shares automatically qualify – the company must also meet the requirement that it is a trading company: the point is that AIM shares at least have the potential to qualify. But once a company moves from AIM to the main market the relief is instantly lost.
Furthermore, the rules on “replacement property” provide that if BPR assets are sold and the proceeds reinvested in other BPR assets the two-year ownership period is carried over: you don’t have to wait a further two years before the replacement assets qualify. By contrast, if you wait until the shares have lost their BPR status before selling and reinvesting into BPR assets, the two-year clock is re-set to zero. So the moral is that when a company moves from AIM to the main market, there are IHT advantages in selling and reinvesting before the date of the main market listing.
This is, of course, “tax” and not “investment” advice. We have no tips on the future prospects of Sirius Minerals or any other company. And even if we did, we wouldn’t share them.
For even more serious advice, please get in touch with your usual BKL contact or use our enquiry form.