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Urgent announcement from HMRC affecting EMI share options

6th April 2018

HMRC has announced that Enterprise Management Incentive “EMI” share options granted on or after 7 April 2018 may not benefit from the favourable tax treatment currently available to EMI share options.

The existing EU State Aid approval for EMI share options expires on 6 April 2018. The government has, since last year, been following the process of applying to the European Commission for fresh approval, but still awaits the Commission’s final response. This has not been received.

This means there will be a period between the lapse of the existing approval for EMI share options on 6 April 2018 and a decision by the Commission on any fresh EU State Aid approval. Indications are that the Commission will grant fresh EU State Aid approval, however it is not clear when this is likely to happen. We understand the Government is seeking to ensure this happens as quickly as possible.

In light of the above, HMRC has confirmed that:

  • EMI share options granted up to and including 6 April 2018 will not be affected by the lapse of the approval.
  • EMI share options granted in the period on and from 7 April 2018 until EU State Aid approval is received may not be eligible for the tax advantages granted to EMI share options and accordingly may be deemed unapproved share options and treated as non-tax advantaged employment-related securities options.

Consequently:

  • Companies and potential option holders may wish to consider delaying the grant of EMI share options until fresh EU State Aid approval has been given.

The following link will direct you to HMRC's bulletin: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employment-related-securities-bulletin/employment-related-securities-bulletin-no-27-april-2018

We will update you on any progress as and when further details are revealed.

If you wish to discuss any of the content above in more detail, please contact Craig Thomas or Susheel Gupta.

This note is for general guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Appropriate legal advice should be taken before action is taken.

 

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