B/C share scheme

Companies occasionally hand cash back to shareholders by issuing new types of shares, typically called B shares and C shares

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 beentreated as income for tax purposes, eliminating the reason to offer these schemes.

Recommended

Margin call
Glossary

Margin call

When an investor borrows to bet on markets, they put down a deposit known as “margin”.
2 Apr 2021
Resource curse
Glossary

Resource curse

The term “resource curse” refers to the observation that countries with abundant natural resources also tend to be less economically developed than th…
14 Jan 2021
Balance of payments
Glossary

Balance of payments

The balance of payments refers to the accounts that sum up a country's financial position relative to other countries.
8 Jan 2021
Yield-curve control
Glossary

Yield-curve control

Yield-curve control is when a central bank aims to control long-term interest rates by pledging to buy (or sell) as many long-term bonds as needed to …
25 Dec 2020

Most Popular

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?
Bitcoin

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?

Dogecoin – a cryptocurrency created as a joke – has risen by more than 9,000% this year alone. Saloni Sardana looks at how something that began as an …
19 Apr 2021
The FTSE 100 has clawed back above 7,000 – how much higher can it go?
UK stockmarkets

The FTSE 100 has clawed back above 7,000 – how much higher can it go?

The FTSE 100 index has risen to over 7,000 for the first time in over a year – it now sits just above where it was in 1999. But its era of neglect cou…
19 Apr 2021
The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021