The main alternatives are Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) and Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS).
A VCT gives investors exposure to a sector of smaller, VCT-qualifying companies who are not listed on the London Stock Exchange but have the potential to grow faster than larger, listed companies. Like EIS investments, VCT investors benefit from 30% income tax relief. This only applies, however, where the share has been held for at least five years.
Investing in a VCT also gives investors tax-free capital gains. And, if your VCT pays dividends they will be tax-free too.
When you make an SEIS investment, you invest in companies which are smaller and younger than EIS-qualifying companies. This means that your SEIS investment is riskier than an EIS.
SEIS investors receive up to 50% Income Tax Relief each tax year (though the shares must have been held for at least three years). If you claim this Income Tax Relief, and the companies in which you are invested in are still SEIS-qualifying, your investments also have tax free growth. In addition to this, SEIS-qualifying companies offer 100% Inheritance Tax relief, so long as the investment has been held for at least two years at the time of death. And, finally, you may offset any losses against your Income Tax bill.