B/C share scheme

When companies have more cash on hand than they need, they may decide to hand some of it back to shareholders. In recent years, some firms have done this through what are known as special purpose share schemes. These schemes usually work by issuing new types of shares, typically called B shares and C shares, that are given to existing shareholders. Each shareholder gets the choice of which type of share they receive.

Shortly after issue, the company repurchases and cancels the B shares, handing the B share owners a profit taxed as a capital gain. Meanwhile, the C share owners get paid an equivalent dividend, taxed as income. The C shares then become worthless and are cancelled.

These schemes allowed shareholders to choose between receiving their payment as income or capital. Higher-rate taxpayers with an unused capital gains allowance could reduce their tax liability by choosing the capital alternative. But HMRC takes an increasingly dim view of this kind of dodge.

So from 6 April 2015, both alternatives have been treated as income for tax purposes, eliminating the reason to offer these schemes.

Merryn

Claim 12 issues of MoneyWeek (plus much more) for just £12!

Let MoneyWeek show you how to profit, whatever the outcome of the upcoming general election.

Start your no-obligation trial today and get up to speed on:

  • The latest shifts in the economy…
  • The ongoing Brexit negotiations…
  • The new tax rules…
  • Trump’s protectionist policies…

Plus lots more.

We’ll show you what it all means for your money.

Plus, the moment you begin your trial, we’ll rush you over THREE free investment reports:

‘How to escape the most hated tax in Britain’: Inheritance tax hits many unsuspecting families. Our report tells how to pass on up to £2m of your money to your family without the taxman getting a look in.

‘How to profit from a Trump presidency’: The election of Donald Trump was a watershed moment for the US economy. This report details the sectors our analysts think will boom from Trump’s premiership, and gives specific investments you can buy to profit.

‘Best shares to watch in 2017’: Includes the transcript from our roundtable panel of investment professionals – and 12 tips they’re currently tipping. The report also analyses key assets, including property, oil and the countries whose stock markets currently offer the most value.